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A.  N.  RYGG,  LL.D. 

Commander  of  the  Royal  Norwegian  Order  of  St.  Olav 
Former  Editor  of  the  Norwegian  News 




This  boo\  is  respectfully  dedicated  to  the  people  of 
Norwegian  descent  with  whom  I  have  had  the  privi- 
lege and  honor  to  wor\  during  many  happy  years. 

A.  N.  RYGG 



THE  Norwegian  Community  in  New  York  City  is  now  more  than  a 
century  old,  figuring  from  the  time  of  the  arrival  of  the  sloop  Restau- 
rationen,  which  often  and  with  justification  has  been  called  the  Norwegian 
May ') 'lower.  For  about  115  years  Norwegians  have  been  part  and  parcel 
of  this  community  and  have  made  their  substantial  contributions  to  the 
upbuilding  of  the  City  and  the  land.  These  contributions  to  what  may 
be  called  the  Making  of  America  have  on  the  part  of  the  Norwegian  ele- 
ment embraced  nearly  every  field  of  human  endeavor,  although  it  is  quite 
natural  that  in  the  Port  of  New  York  and  along  the  Atlantic  seaboard  as 
a  whole  the  heaviest  contribution  to  American  life  and  development  has 
been  in  shipping  in  all  its  various  phases.  Considering  the  fact  that  the 
Norwegian  nation  is  a  small  one  numerically,  its  contributions  to  Ameri- 
can shipping  have  been  as  widespread  in  extent  as  they  have  been 
valuable  in  character. 

Yet,  in  spite  of  our  having  been  here  for  115  years — leaving  out  of 
consideration  the  Norwegians  who  came  to  New  Amsterdam  with  the 
Dutch  in  the  seventeenth  century1 — no  adequate  history  of  the  activities 
of  our  people  in  New  York  has  been  written  and  made  available  to  the 
general  public.  In  fact,  the  first  fifty  years  —  from  1825  to  1875  —  have 
been  more  or  less  hidden  in  a  mist,  so  that  only  a  few  incidents  were 
known,  and  people  in  general  have  had  merely  the  haziest  notions  of 
how  our  "Colony"  came  into  being,  the  whys  and  wherefores,  and  how 
it  grew  into  one  of  the  largest  groups  of  Norwegians  on  this  side  of  the 
Atlantic.  It  is  true  that  we  have  Professor  Knut  Gjerset's  excellent  book 
on  Norwegian  sailors  in  American  waters,  but  this  work  covers  only  a 
section  of  the  field  and  is  not  intended  to  depict  the  life  in  general  of  the 
Norwegians  in  New  York  City. 

It  may  be  pertinent  to  say  that  a  farmer  is  judged  in  the  main  by  defi- 
nite achievements  which  can  be  seen  and  measured.  The  work  of  the 
sailor  is  more  ephemeral.  When  a  voyage  is  completed,  nothing  remains 
but  a  memory,  so  that  the  value  of  a  sailor's  work  is  less  easily  proved. 

1Dr.  John  O.  Evjen:  Scandinavian  Immigrants  in  TSjetc  Yor\,  16 JO- 1674. 

Norwegians  in  New  York 

Miss  Ingrid  Gaustad  (now  Mrs.  Semmingsen)  from  Oslo,  who  re- 
cently spent  a  year  in  the  United  States  for  the  purpose  of  studying  the 
effect  of  the  emigration  on  conditions  in  Norway,  regretted  the  fact  that 
so  very  little  historical  material  was  at  hand  in  printed  form  in  the  Nor- 
wegian settlements  along  the  Atlantic  Coast,  while  our  kinsmen  in  the 
Northwest  had  become  well  equipped  in  this  respect,  largely  through  the 
efforts  of  the  Norwegian-American  Historical  Association. 

Owing  to  this  backwardness  on  our  part  in  getting  our  records  in 
order,  the  contributions  to  the  community  made  by  the  Norwegian  ele- 
ment in  New  York  have,  to  a  large  extent,  been  hidden  under  a  bushel. 
Because  of  this  lack  of  records,  statistics  and  definite  information  concern- 
ing our  life  and  activities,  we  do  not,  perhaps,  show  up  fully  as  well  as 
we  otherwise  might,  although  we  do,  of  course,  in  a  general  way  rank 
high  as  citizens  of  this  country. 

For  the  reasons  mentioned  I  have  lately  spent  considerable  time  in 
gathering  material  for  a  history  of  the  Norwegians  in  New  York  in  the 
period  from  1825  to  1925.  Needless  to  say,  this  undertaking  has  offered 
many  difficulties  and  required  much  patience.  In  the  first  place,  the  people 
who  lived  in  the  Sixties  and  Seventies  and  could  have  thrown  light  on 
conditions  and  events  in  those  days,  are  no  longer  with  us.  In  the  second 
place,  the  Scandinavian  newspapers  published  in  New  York  in  1847,  1851 
and  1863  can  no  longer  be  found  with  the  exception  of  four  numbers  of 
the  first  one,  Scandinavia,  and  two  numbers  of  the  second,  S\andinaven, 
and  even  Nordis^e  Blade,  which  commenced  publication  in  1878,  seems 
to  have  disappeared  completely.  The  only  available  newspaper  is  Nordis^ 
Tidende,  which  covers  the  period  from  January,  1891,  up  to  the  present 
time  and  is,  of  course,  very  valuable,  but  cannot  be  expected  to  contain 
much  information  concerning  events  and  persons  ten,  twenty,  thirty  and 
forty  years  earlier.  I  have,  however,  gathered  material  from  all  kinds  of 
sources:  books,  interviews,  reports  from  institutions  and  societies,  etc., 
and  as  one  bit  of  information  often  leads  to  another,  I  have  on  occasion 
been  able  to  develop  some  valuable  items. 

This,  then,  is  an  attempt  on  my  part  to  dispel  some  of  the  fog  that 
has  hung  over  the  history  of  our  group.  It  has  been  my  belief  that  a  care- 
ful and  systematic  search  of  accessible  sources  would  yield  a  plentiful  and 
interesting  harvest.  I  have  tried  to  show  not  only  what  outstanding  men 
among  us  have  accomplished,  but  also  what  we  have  done  collectively — 

Norwegians  in  New  York 

as  a  group.  Our  complete  record,  I  am  sure,  will  turn  out  to  be  a  proud 
and  an  honorable  one  and  will  show  that  the  Norwegians  have  been  a 
valuable  element  in  the  population,  at  all  times  ready  to  carry  their  full 
share  of  the  burdens  of  the  community. 

It  is  very  interesting  to  follow  a  community  on  its  way  up  from  abso- 
lutely nothing  and  to  notice  how  it  acquires  form  and  substance  as  it 
goes  along.  In  1825  the  Norwegian  community  in  New  York  barely  did 
exist,  but  little  by  little  it  grew  in  size  and  strength.  As  the  need  made 
itself  felt,  it  established  churches,  societies,  institutions,  newspapers  and 
other  communal  requirements,  until  it  finally  has  built  up  an  excellent 
apparatus  for  taking  care  of  all  those  necessities  that  cannot  be  handled 
by  the  individual,  but  must  be  met  by  the  community  at  large. 

Of  the  population  of  Greater  New  York,  62,915  are  classed  as  Nor- 
wegians in  the  United  States  Census  for  1930.  Of  these  38,130  were  born 
in  Norway  and  24,785  were  born  here  of  parents  born  in  Norway,  or 
were  of  mixed  parentage.  It  is,  indeed,  quite  an  increase  from  1825. 

It  may  be  permissible  for  me  to  add  that  as  editor  of  Nordis^ 
Tidende  for  eighteen  years,  from  191 1  to  1929,  I  have  personally  had  to 
do  with  a  great  many  of  the  events,  churches,  societies,  organizations  of 
various  kinds,  and  private  persons  mentioned  in  this  book.  In  numerous 
instances  the  reports  appearing  in  Nordisf^  Tidende  have  been  written  by 
me.  Consequently,  in  preparing  the  material  for  the  book,  I  have  had 
quite  a  store  of  information  of  my  own  to  draw  from.  The  attention  of 
the  reader  is  called  to  the  fact  that  the  subject  matter,  as  nearly  as  possible, 
is  dealt  with  chronologically. 

For  valuable  advice  and  assistance  I  beg  to  offer  my  most  sincere 
thanks  to  Miss  Hanna  Astrup  Larsen,  editor  of  the  American-Scandina- 
vian Review,  New  York;  Rev.  C.  O.  Pedersen,  rector  of  the  Norwegian 
Lutheran  Deaconesses'  Home  and  Hospital,  Brooklyn;  Mr.  Juul  Dieserud, 
Cand.  Mag.,  Washington,  D.  C;  Mr.  Carl  J.  S0yland,  editor,  and  Major 
S.  J.  Arnesen,  publisher  of  Nordis\  Tidende,  Brooklyn;  Carl  Christian 
Jensen,  author  of  An  American  Saga,  Brooklyn,  and  to  the  many  others 
too  numerous  to  mention,  who  have  been  happy  to  furnish  required 

A.  N.  RYGG. 

Brooklyn,  October  1,  1941. 





I.    The  Curtain  Rises   i 

II.    Shipping  and  the  Men  of  the  Sea      ....  22 

III.  The  Beginnings  of  Religious  Work   ....  35 

IV.  In  the  Civil  War   43 

V.    Interesting  Personalities   55 

VI.    The  Invasion  of  Brooklyn   64 


VII.    Societies   75 

VIII.    Charitable  Institutions   88 

IX.    Churches   95 

X.    The  Sailor  and  His  Friends   103 

XI.    Song,  Music  and  Theater   117 

XII.    In  the  War  With  Spain   127 

XIII.  Newspapers   133 

XIV.  Various  Activities   137 

XV.    Staten  Island,  Harlem  and  the  Bronx      .       .       .  152 


XVI.    Engineers  and  Scientists   161 

XVII.    The  Norwegian  America  Line   169 

XVIII.    The  Temperance  Cause   173 

XIX.    During  the  World  War   177 

XX.    In  the  World  of  Art   192 

XXI.    Literature   204 

XXII.    Skiing  and  Other  Sports   209 

XXIII.  Miscellaneous  Items   213 

XXIV.  Along  the  Waterfront   239 

XXV.    From  Various  Localities   250 

XXVI.    General  Observations   264 






THE  Beginning  of  the  Norwegian  immigration  to  America  in  mod- 
ern times  starts  from  the  year  1825,  when  the  thirty-nine  ton  sailing 
vessel,  Restaurationen,  left  the  harbor  of  Stavanger  in  southwestern  Nor- 
way and  arrived  in  the  Port  of  New  York  on  October  9.  We  are,  in  this 
history,  going  to  pass  by  Leiv  Eiriksson  and  Thorfinn  Karlsefni  and  the 
Norwegians  in  New  Amsterdam  in  the  seventeenth  century.  The  sloop 
carried  fifty-two  passengers,  which  number  before  the  arrival  had  been 
increased  to  fifty-three  by  the  birth  of  a  child  on  board.  The  coming  of 
this  first  group  of  Norwegian  immigrants  attracted  considerable  atten- 
tion. "The  appearance  of  such  a  party  of  strangers,  coming  from  so  dis- 
tant a  country  and  in  a  vessel  of  a  size  apparently  ill  calculated  for  a 
voyage  across  the  Atlantic,"  writes  the  New  Yorl{  Daily  Advertiser  of 
October  12,  1825,  under  the  heading  "A  Novel  Sight",  "could  not  but 
excite  an  unusual  degree  of  interest.  An  enterprise  like  this  argues  a  good 
deal  of  boldness  in  the  Master  of  the  vessel  as  well  as  an  adventurous  spirit 
in  the  passengers,  most  of  whom  belong  to  families  from  the  vicinity  of 
a  little  town  at  the  southwestern  extremity  of  Norway,  near  Cape  Stavan- 
ger. Those  who  came  from  the  farms  are  dressed  in  coarse  cloth  of 
domestic  manufacture,  of  a  fashion  different  from  the  American,  but 
those  who  inhabit  the  town  wear  calicoes,  ginghams  and  gay  shawls,  im- 
ported, we  presume,  from  England.  The  vessel  is  built  on  the  model 
common  to  fishing  boats  on  that  coast,  with  a  single  mast  and  top-sail, 

Some  little  trouble  with  the  authorities  arose  from  the  fact  that  the 
Restaurationen  carried  more  passengers  than  its  size  allowed  under 
American  law,  but  this  was  adjusted  with  the  assistance  of  Henrik  Gahn, 
the  Norwegian-Swedish  Consul  in  New  York.  The  pardon  was  signed 
by  President  John  Quincy  Adams,  who  in  1809  had  briefly  visited  Nor- 
way on  his  way  to  St.  Petersburg.1 

The  vessel,  purchased  in  Stavanger  for  about  $1,350,  was  sold  at  a 

1John  Quincy  Adams  and  the  Sloop  Restaurationen  by  Theodore  C.  Blegen. 



Norwegians  in  New  York 

considerable  loss,  as  it  brought  only  $400.  Cleng  Peerson,  "the  father  of 
Norwegian  emigration,"  who,  with  a  companion2  had  been  sent  over  to 
America  in  advance  in  order  to  choose  land  suitable  for  a  settlement,  met 
the  passengers  on  their  arrival  and  took  them  to  Kendall,  Orleans  County, 
near  Rochester,  New  York,  where  they  settled.  The  trip  to  their  destina- 
tion was  made  by  way  of  Albany  and  the  Erie  Canal,  which  had  been 
completed  that  year.  After  a  few  years  in  Kendall,  most  of  the  new- 
comers became  dissatisfied  with  their  lot  and  moved  west  to  land  along 
the  Fox  River  in  Illinois.  Lars  Larsen,  however,  the  leader  of  the  sloopers, 
settled  in  Rochester,  where  he  became  a  boat  builder  and  a  highly  re- 
spected citizen.3 

It  is  interesting  to  learn,  according  to  the  Encyclopedia  Britannica, 
that  the  word  York,  in  New  York,  is  derived  from  the  Old  Norse  word 
Jorvik,  meaning  a  bay  with  horses.  Jorvik  was  contracted  to  Yorick  and 
finally  became  York.  Brooklyn  is  derived  from  the  Dutch  Breuekelen, 
meaning  marshland. 

When  the  sloop  party  had  left  New  York,  only  two  of  those  who  had 
come  over  with  the  Restaurationen  remained  behind  in  the  city:  the 
Skipper,  Lars  Olsen  Helland,  from  Stavanger,  and  the  Mate,  Peder 
Eriksen  Meland,  from  Bergen.  There  is  no  further  record  of  what  be- 
came of  them.  Things  now  were  very  quiet  in  New  York  for  a  consid- 
erable period  so  far  as  Norwegian  immigrants  were  concerned.  On  Janu- 
ary 1,  1828,  Consul  Gahn  of  New  York  reported  to  his  government  that 
no  Norwegian  ships  had  arrived  at  that  port  for  several  years.  The 
schooner  Frembringeren,  Skipper  Balchen,  brought  a  cargo  of  salt  to 
Philadelphia  from  Iceland  in  1828,  but  the  report  that  Kronprinsesse 
Josephine  of  Kristiansand  arrived  at  New  York  on  July  1,  1833,  is  evi- 
dently wrong,  as  the  Collector  of  Customs  states  that  the  records  at  the 
Custom  house  fail  to  show  that  this  ship  entered  the  Port  of  New  York 
during  the  year  1833.4 

Most  authors  seem  to  agree  that  there  was  no  immigration  to  speak 
of  between  1825  and  1836,  but  Gjerset  states  in  his  Norwegian  Sailors  on 
the  Great  ha\es  (p.  3)  that  313  Norwegian  and  Swedish  immigrants  are 

2This  companion,  Knud  Olsen  Eide,  became  ill  in  New  York  and  died  there. 
3More  elaborate  accounts  of  the  voyage  of  the  Restaurationen  and  the  sloop 

party  can  be  found  in  Blegen's  Norwegian  Migration  to  America  and  Norlie's 

History  of  the  "Norwegian  People  in  America. 
4Blegen,  Norwegian  Migration  to  America,  p.  80. 

The  Curtain  Rises 


known  to  have  arrived  in  1832.  He  mentions  as  possibly  one  of  this 
party  a  sailor  by  the  name  of  David  Johnson,  who  came  to  New  York 
that  year  and  in  1834  went  to  Chicago,  where  he  became  the  first  Nor- 
wegian sailor  known  to  have  served  on  the  Great  Lakes.  Hjalmar  R. 
Holand  says  that  Johnson  became  a  printer  in  Chicago,  which  may  have 
taken  place  later  on,  as  sailors  often  grew  tired  of  the  sea.5 

•    '  ,"\ 

\\  ■       •  .  -  V 

Leiv  Eiriksson  Discovers  America 
A  copy  of  Chr.  Krohg's  famous  painting  which  hangs  in  the  Capitol, 
Washington,  D.  C. 

Scattered  immigrants  and  sailors  coming  over  via  Gothenburg  or 
Havre,  kept  drifting  into  New  York  in  the  decade  preceding  1836,  but 
in  this  year  the  immigration  set  in  in  earnest  and  continued  to  1859, 
when  there  was  almost  complete  cessation  until  after  the  Civil  War.6 

In  1865  began  a  long  period  of  heavy  immigration  which  continued 
until  191 1,  when  Congress  took  steps  to  limit  the  influx  of  foreigners.7 

5HoIand,  De  ~Hprs\e  Settlementers  Historie,  p.  100. 

6George  T.  Flom,  "Discovery  and  Immigration"  in  "Norwegian  Immigrant  Con- 
tributions  to  America's  Maying,  H.  Sundby-Hansen,  editor. 

7Ingrid  Gaustad  in  T^ordmanns-Forbundet:  "For  some  time  only  a  few  hundred 
came  yearly,  but  in  1843  the  number  suddenly  jumped  to  1,500  and  in  1849 
there  was  a  new  jump,  this  time  to  4,000.  In  1865,  when  the  great  immigra- 
tion period  began,  the  number  rose  to  15,000  and  in  the  Eighties  more  than 
20,000  Norwegians  emigrated  yearly  to  the  United  States." 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

It  was  the  two  brigs,  Norden  and  Norges  Klippe,  both  from  Stavan- 
ger,  which  in  1836  opened  the  regular  and  steady  Norwegian  emigrant 
traffic  to  America.  They  carried  respectively  no  and  57  persons.  Norden 
required  twelve  weeks  for  the  voyage  across  and  the  fare  was  31  daler, 
Norwegian  money.  In  1837  the  bark  /Egir,  Captain  Behrens,  from  Ber- 
gen, came  over  with  84  persons,  and  Enigheden  from  Stavanger  carried 
93.  Both  these  ships  made  a  number  of  trips  to  New  York  in  the  follow- 
ing years.  In  1840  the  first  ship  from  the  eastern  part  of  Norway,  the 
bark  Emilia  from  Drammen,  landed  102  immigrants  in  New  York,  and 
thereafter  every  summer  the  small  Norwegian  emigrant  ships  came  across 
the  Atlantic  in  a  steady  stream. 

In  the  fall  of  1837,  Den  Bergenske  Mer\ur  contained  the  following 
lively  description  of  the  voyage  of  the  /Egir: 

"The  ship  /Egir  of  Bergen,  under  the  command  of  Captain  Behrens, 
left  April  7,  1837,  with  82  emigrants  and  with  particularly  favorable 
wind  and  weather.  The  usual  seasickness  with  all  its  tribulations  ap- 
peared soon,  but  as  all  the  passengers  were  of  sound  and  strong  constitu- 
tion, they  were  rapidly  resuscitated  with  the  aid  of  barley  soup.  They 
praised  their  careful  Captain  as  a  competent  doctor,  although  he  was  not 
equipped  with  a  doctor's  hat.  With  the  seasickness  all  anxiety  seemed  to 
disappear;  farmers  who  never  had  seen  the  ocean  before  and  saw  that  it 
was  calm,  no  longer  were  afraid  of  its  fury.  They  saw  the  ship  set  its 
course  for  milder  regions;  the  violin  appeared  and,  every  evening,  sailors, 
boys  and  girls  swung  themselves  in  merry  dances.  These  dance  evenings 
the  Captain  had  to  interfere  with,  however,  as  the  ballroom  (the  deck) 
suffered  too  much  from  the  dancing  shoes  of  the  cavaliers.  The  shoes 
were  mounted  with  big  nails.  The  only  other  way  was  to  dance  in  their 
bare  socks. 

"With  favorable  wind  the  ship  soon  neared  its  destination,  and  al- 
ready on  July  8  America  could  be  seen.  During  the  whole  voyage  hardly 
any  indisposition  had  occurred,  much  less  any  serious  illness.  In  the  best 
of  health,  because  of  Captain  Behrens'  humane  management,  and  in  par- 
ticular because  of  the  cheerful  state  of  mind  maintained  throughout  the 
voyage,  the  passengers  went  into  quarantine  for  six  days.  When  this 
was  over,  the  passengers  were  transferred  to  a  smaller  vessel  and  taken 
to  New  York." 

As  a  rule  the  early  emigrant  ships  left  Norway  in  May,  because  the 

The  Curtain  Rises 


waters  in  the  vicinity  of  Newfoundland  generally  were  free  of  ice  at  that 
time  of  the  year.  It  did,  however,  happen  that  such  ships  would  leave  in 
April  or  June.  In  the  Forties  the  price  of  a  ticket  was  about  15  speciedaler 
for  each  grown  person;  later  the  charges  varied  between  20  and  25  specie- 
daler. The  emigrants  had  to  supply  their  own  provisions,  the  only  thing 
gratis  being  water.  If  fortunate  with  the  weather,  the  voyage  could  be 
made  in  about  four  weeks,  but  usually  the  crossing  would  take  five  or  six 
weeks.  If  the  weather  was  contrary,  considerably  more  time  would  be 
consumed.8  In  its  issue  of  May  1,  1847,  the  Scandinavia  states  that  it 
took  the  ship  iyde  Mai  105  days  to  get  across.9 

In  spite  of  the  favorable  report  concerning  the  voyage  of  the  Mgir, 
these  small  ships  filled  with  passengers  violated  all  sanitary  requirements. 
When  the  weather  was  bad,  and  ships  delayed  by  storms,  with  many  of 
the  passengers  ill,  conditions  on  board  were  deplorable,  to  say  the  least. 
The  Ellida,  for  instance,  docked  at  New  York  in  1842  with  nine  passen- 
gers dead  and  some  thirty  who  were  sent  to  the  hospital  "half  dead." 
The  disease  was  described  as  "a  kind  of  cholera  or  typhus."  There  were 
several  such  cases.10  It  was  plain  that  these  ships  would  soon  have  to  give 
way  to  more  modern  means  of  transportation,  and  when  the  Norwegian 
American  Steamship  Company  was  established  in  1871,  emigrant  traffic 
with  sailing  vessels  ceased  entirely.  The  Cunard  Line  started  its  service 
across  the  Atlantic  in  1840. 

It  is  interesting  to  note  how  some  of  these  early  immigrants  described 
the  conditions  in  the  new  country.  Ole  0ysteinson  Helland  writes  in  a 
letter  from  New  York  to  his  parents  in  the  fall  of  1836: 

"My  earnings  are  not  large  now,  as  I  do  not  know  the  language;  yet 
I  have  never  been  paid  as  much  per  day  in  Norway  as  now.  I  speak  now 
so  much  English  that  I  would  have  been  glad  if  I  had  known  as  much 
when  I  came  here.  I  also  want  to  say  that  I  have  such  good  service  with 
board  and  bed  that  you  would  not  believe  it.  Yes,  I  think  often  of  you 
when  I  go  to  a  prepared  table  with  much  expensive  food  before  me.  I 
am  glad  that  I  have  come  to  this  country,  and  I  thank  God  who  has  been 
so  good  to  me.  Yes,  I  believe  that  this  journey  will  mean  much  to  me, 

8Restaurationens  Mindevaerdige  Faerd,  M.  L.  Michaelsen,  7^ordis\  Tidende, 

Jubilaeumsnummer,  October  8,  1925. 
9An  excellent  account  of  the  emigrant  traffic  is  that  by  Dr.  Worm-Muller  in 

Den  7^ors\e  Sjefarts  Historic 
10Blegen,  Norwegian  Migration  II,  p.  19. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

body  and  soul  .  .  .  For  those  who  do  not  know  the  language,  it  is  not  so 
easy  to  come  with  family;  but  this  I  say,  that  those  who  are  single  can 
make  headway  here,  if  they  will  take  care  of  themselves  and  learn  the 
language.  I  want  to  say  for  my  part  that  I  shall  hardly  be  coming  back 
to  Norway  to  live  .  .  ."n 


In  a  letter  written  by  Sjur  j0rgensen  Haaeim,  who  emigrated  from 
Hardanger  in  1836  and  went  by  way  of  Gothenburg  to  Illinois  we  meet, 
as  far  as  is  known,  the  first  Norwegian  business  man  in  New  York: 

"After  a  voyage  of  five  weeks  and  four  days  we  reached  our  destina- 
tion, New  York,  where  I  at  once  looked  up  a  man  by  the  name  of  Fredrik 
Wang,  from  Gudbrandsdalen,  who  lived  in  New  York;  one  of  the  Swe- 
dish sailors  on  the  vessel  we  came  on  went  with  me.  When  we  reached 
the  house  we  found  the  man  standing  on  the  doorstep;  I  greeted  him  and 
he  immediately  said  that  as  I  was  a  Norwegian  I  must  come  in.  He  had 
a  saloon,  where  he  sold  all  kinds  of  drinks.  Here  I  was  treated  most 
generously  with  wine,  brandy,  and  beer,  and  when  I  told  him  that  there 
were  many  of  us  Norwegians  in  the  party  and  that  we  had  come  with 
the  idea  of  settling  here  in  this  country,  he  asked  where  our  ship  was 
anchored  and  he  promised  to  go  with  us  to  the  ship  in  order  to  talk  with 
all  the  Norwegians  who  were  with  us.  On  the  way  to  the  ship  he  stopped 
at  a  baker's  shop  and  bought  a  dollar's  worth  of  bread,  which  he  dis- 
tributed among  all  the  Norwegians,  and  he  arranged  with  the  Captain 
to  have  us  live  aboard  the  ship  until  he  could  provide  for  our  passage. 
We  remained  three  days  on  the  ship,  and  during  this  period  occurred  the 
celebration  which  takes  place  every  year  on  the  Fourth  of  July." 

Haaeim's  passage  to  New  York  cost  30  dollars,  and  each  passenger 
had  to  provide  himself  with  food  and  water  for  three  months,  which  en- 
tailed no  little  expense.12 

Johannes  Nordbo,  who  was  passing  through  New  York  in  1832, 
stated  in  one  of  his  letters  (N '  orwegian- American  Studies  and  Records, 
Volume  VIII,  p.  32):  "After  one  has  thus  arrived  in  New  York,  one 

11C.  J.  Hambro,  Ameri\aferd,  p.  21. 

12Sjur  Jorgensen  Haaeim's  Information  On  Conditions  in  J^orth  America,  trans- 
lated  and  edited  by  Gunnar  J.  Malmin.  Studies  and  Records,  Vol.  Ill,  Nor- 
wegian-Araerican  Historical  Association. 

The  Curtain  Rises 


should  go  down  to  the  shore,  where  the  rigging  of  ships  will  be  seen, 
and  one  should  then  call  out:  'Svedisker  Norveisk  Mand'.  Soon  there 
will  be  someone  to  talk  with,  and  inquiry  should  then  be  made  for  Beek- 
man,  master  rigger;  0sterberg,  baker;  the  Norwegian  Fr.  Wang,  mer- 
chant, a  son  of  the  minister  in  Waage  (Vaage);  and  also  for  Tybring,  the 
son  of  a  minister  in  Drammen;  Johnsen  of  Laurvig;  the  Norwegian  Wil- 
liamson, and  others." 

The  very  interesting  thing  about  this  statement  is  that  we  have  here 
the  names  of  some  of  the  first  Norwegian  settlers  in  New  York,  that  we 
know  of.  The  ships  most  likely  were  tied  up  along  South  Street,  in  the 
neighborhood  of  Market  Street,  and,  no  doubt,  Fredrik  Wang,  the  saloon 
keeper,  did  a  rushing  business  when  the  Norwegian  emigrant  ships  came 
in  after  the  long  and  disagreeable  trip  across  the  ocean. 

Many  people  in  Norway,  including  Bishop  Jacob  Neumann,  were 
bitterly  opposed  to  the  emigration  and  did  what  they  could  to  put  a 
damper  on  the  "America  fever",  but  without  any  success.  The  Bishop 
published,  on  May  24,  1837,  in  Bergen,  a  Word  of  Admonition  to  the 
Peasants,  in  which  he  states:  "The  Department  of  Finance  has  received 
the  following  information  from  the  tinner,  Torgersen,  a  man  of  Norwe- 
gian birth,  who  lives  in  New  York  and  is  just  now  visiting  in  Kristiania, 
but  who  intends  soon  to  return  to  America.  In  his  report  the  Department 
has  implicit  faith. 

"Torgersen  was  living  in  New  York  last  year,  when  the  emigrants 
from  Stavanger  and  vicinity  arrived.  It  is  his  opinion  that,  without  re- 
gard to  position  and  class,  it  is  just  as  hard  to  make  a  living  in  the  North 
American  States  as  here  at  home,  but  that  the  common  man,  who  has  not 
learned  any  trade  and  does  not  understand  the  English  language  is  ex- 
posed to  great  hardships  when  he  arrives  in  North  America;  he  cannot 
support  himself  except  through  day  labor,  which  demands  a  much  more 
strenuous  exertion  than  we  are  used  to  here  and  does  not  pay  more  than 
enough  for  the  support  of  life.  Furthermore,  the  climate,  which  is  differ- 
ent from  what  we  are  used  to  here,  lays  many  an  emigrant  in  the  grave. 
It  is  true  that  the  food  used  in  a  southern  climate  is  finer  than  what  we 
use  here  in  the  North,  so  that,  for  example,  wheat  bread  takes  the  place 
of  oat  bread.  But  in  order  to  enjoy  this,  one  must  earn  enough  money 
to  buy  it.  This  is  attended  by  many  difficulties  for  the  Norwegian  immi- 
grants in  a  strange  land;  it  means  that  they  must  work  unceasingly,  with 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

the  greatest  exertion,  and  with  almost  no  prospects  of  getting  homes  of 
their  own  or  of  acquiring  fixed  property.13 

A  smith,  Knud  Knudsen,  wrote  in  1839  an  "Account  of  a  Journey 
from  Drammen  in  Norway  to  New  York  in  North  America"  in  the  form 
of  two  letters.  "Everything  astonished  us,"  wrote  Knudsen  in  New 
York;  "here  was  a  numberless  fleet  of  steamboats  and  ships;  here  are 
buildings  which  are  constructed  of  hewn  marble  and  elaborately  built, 
most  of  them  seven  or  eight  stories  high.  In  my  opinion  it  would  take 
days  and  years  to  give  an  adequate  account  of  this  city;  for  in  the  short 
time  we  were  there,  it  seemed  incomprehensible  to  me  and  the  others."14 

Charles  George  Sommers,  clergyman,  was  born  in  London,  England, 
March  4,  1793.  His  father  was  a  Norwegian,  but  the  early  part  of  the 
son's  life  was  spent  in  Denmark,  where,  after  attending  school,  he  entered 
a  mercantile  house  in  Elsinore.  He  came  to  the  United  States  in  1808, 
and  two  years  later  entered  the  employ  of  John  Jacob  Astor,  for  whom  he 
went  to  Canada  on  a  difficult  mission  during  the  war  of  181 2.  He 
abandoned  business  soon  afterward  for  the  Baptist  ministry.  His  first 
pastorate  was  in  Troy,  New  York,  and  six  years  later  he  was  called  to 
the  charge  of  the  South  Baptist  Church  in  New  York  City,  where  he  re- 
mained till  his  retirement  in  1856.  He  was  an  active  worker  in  connec- 
tion with  the  tract  and  Bible  societies  and  a  founder  of  the  American 
Baptist  Home  Mission  Society.  In  1852  he  received  the  degree  of  D.D. 
from  Madison  University.  Dr.  Sommers  published  numerous  controver- 
sial articles  in  defense  of  Baptist  doctrines,  edited  a  volume  of  Psalms  and 
Hymns  (1835)  and  The  Baptist  Library  (3  vols.,  1843)  and  was  the 
author  of  Memoirs  of  John  Stanford,  D.D.,  With  Selections  From  His 
Correspondence  (1835).  He  died  in  New  York  December  19,  1868.15 

When  we  come  to  the  Forties,  more  is  heard  of  the  Norwegians  in 
New  York.  They  are  slowly  increasing  in  number,  important  people  are 
appearing  on  the  scene,  and  organizations  are  being  formed  to  take  care 

"Translated  by  Gunnar  J.  Malmin,  Studies  and  Records,  Vol.  I,  Norwegian- 

American  Historical  Association. 
147*lorwegian  Migration,  Blegen,  p.  241. 
15l<lational  Cyclopedia  of  American  Biography. 

The  Curtain  Rises 


of  the  interests  common  to  all.  The  prospects  are  hopeful  and  the  future 
looks  bright. 

James  Denoon  Reymert,  an  able  man  who  was  to  become  well 
known  in  various  parts  of  the  country,  made  his  appearance  in  New  York 
in  1842.  Reymert  was  born  in  1821  in  Farsund,  where  his  father  was 
Collector  of  Customs.  His  mother,  Jessie  Sinclair  Denoon,  was  Scotch. 
After  having  studied  at  a  business  college  in  Oslo,  young  Reymert,  in 
1840,  went  to  his  relatives  in  Scotland  and  was  for  a  while  employed 
in  a  law  office  in  Edinburgh.  Two  years  later  he  decided  to  emigrate  and 
came  to  New  York  after  a  trip  of  seventy  days  across  the  Atlantic.  Hav- 
ing no  money,  he  worked  on  canal  boats  and  sailing  vessels  and  in  this 
manner  came  to  Milwaukee.  Here  he  heaid  of  the  Norwegian  settlement 
in  Muskego,  Wisconsin,  and  went  there.  In  1844,  he  married  Anna 
Caspara  Hansen,  worked  for  a  while  as  a  teacher,  and  built  a  sawmill 
that  brought  in  good  money.  Together  with  Even  H.  Heg,  the  father 
of  Colonel  Hans  Heg,  and  S0ren  Bache,  he  started  the  publication  of 
Nordlyset,  in  1847,  the  first  exclusively  Norwegian  newspaper  in  America. 
Reymert  also  was  a  member  of  the  legislature  of  Wisconsin  and  held 
other  public  offices.  He  was,  in  fact,  the  first  Norwegian  politician  in 
America.  In  spite  of  these  various  activities  he  had  found  time  to  study 
law  and  in  1861  he  moved  back  to  New  York,  where  he  became  an  out- 
standing lawyer.  He  also  founded  the  Hercules  Mutual  Life  Assurance 
Society.  When  the  Norwegian  Society  of  New  York  was  organized  in 
1 871,  Reymert  served  as  one  of  its  first  presidents.  He  was  in  his  day  a 
leader  among  his  people.  Subsequently,  he  spent  some  time  in  South 
America  for  his  health,  returned  to  this  country  in  1876  and  established 
himself  as  a  lawyer  in  San  Francisco.  Fie  was  appointed  United  States 
Judge  in  Arizona  by  President  Cleveland,  and  he  died  in  1896  in  Alham- 
bra,  California,  74  years  old.  He  is  said  to  have  been  very  generous  and 
charitable,  and  an  excellent  speaker.  His  nephew,  the  well-known  New 
York  attorney,  August  Reymert,  studied  law  in  his  office.16 

The  Scandinavian  Society  of  1844  was  organized  July  9,  1844,  at  the 

16Dr.  Martin  Luther  Reymert  in  S\andinaven,  October  27,  1939.  Den  siste 
Fol\evandring,  Hjalmar  Rued  Holand,  p.  61.  'Hordis\  Tidende,  March  21, 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

home  of  Christian  Hansen,  117  Washington  Street,  New  York,  and  had 
for  its  purpose:  to  maintain  contact  with  the  literature  of  the  motherland; 
to  encourage  social  intercourse  among  the  Scandinavians  in  the  city;  to 
establish  sick  benefits  on  a  solid  and  at  the  same  time  reasonable  basis, 
and,  if  possible,  to  organize  a  singing  society.  Meetings  were  held  month- 
ly, the  dues  were  $2.00  a  year  and  the  sick  benefit  $5.00  a  week  for 
twelve  weeks  in  one  year.17  It  is  very  likely  that  the  membership  consist- 
ed mostly  of  Norwegians  and  Danes,  as  the  Swedes  already  for  a  num- 
ber of  years  had  had  a  society  of  their  own,  and  when  the  Norwegian 
members,  owing  to  some  friction,  withdrew18  and  started  the  Norwe- 
gian Society  of  New  York  in  1871,  the  Scandinavian  Society  became 
virtually  a  Danish  association.  This  seems  to  be  borne  out  by  the  names 
on  its  board  of  directors  for  1902  and  by  the  books  in  its  library,  which 
were  mostly  Danish.  The  Society  was  disbanded  about  30  years  ago  and 
the  700  books  were  given  to  the  Danish  Old  People's  Home  in 

In  Skandtnaven  for  August  19,  1851,  a  description  is  found  of  a 
banner,  said  to  be  in  most  excellent  taste,  which  had  been  donated  to  the 
Society  by  Scandinavian  ladies.  It  was  in  three  colors,  blue,  white,  and 
yellow,  and  it  had  a  North  Star  in  silver  on  a  blue  background.  The 
banner  was  used  on  August  8,  1851,  on  an  excursion  to  Strieker's  Bay. 


Though  Nordlyset,  Madison,  Wisconsin,  was,  strictly  speaking,  the 
first  Norwegian  newspaper  published  in  the  United  States,  the  researches 
of  Gunnar  J.  Malmin  and  Juul  Dieserud  have  brought  to  light  the  fact 
that  the  Scandinavian  colony  in  New  York  City  inaugurated  a  newspaper 
earlier  in  1847,  most  likely  about  January  1.  This  paper,  a  bi-weekly 
by  the  name  of  Scandinavia,  was  intended  to  serve  the  needs  of  Norwe- 
gians, Danes  and  Swedes,  and  it  used  alternately  Norwegian,  Danish  and 
Swedish  in  its  columns.  It  may  be  that  the  Scandinavian  Society  of  1844 
was  sponsoring  the  project,  but  the  man  in  charge  seems  to  have  been 
A.  F.  Kindberg,  85  West  Street,  New  York,  as  letters,  etc.,  were  to  be  sent 

17Constitution  and  Catalogue  of  the  Society  in  New  York  Public  Library. 
ls7iordis\  Tidende,  September  20,  1895. 

19Albert  van  Sand,  editor  of  Danish  weekly  newspaper  T^ordlyset.  to  author. 

The  Curtain  Rises 


to  him.  A  Dane  by  name  Christian  Hansen  (mentioned  above)  who  had 
spent  a  few  years  in  Norway,  was  for  a  time  connected  with  the  paper. 
The  only  four  numbers  extant  (Nos.  5  to  8,  March  15  to  May  15,  1847) 
were  found  by  J.  Dieserud  in  the  Library  of  Congress.  The  paper  was 
printed  in  H.  Ludwig's  Bogtrykkeri,  70  Vesey  Street,  New  York,  and 
had  as  a  motto:  "O,  lad  os  aldrig  glemme,  hvor  fjernt,  hvor  langt  vi  gaa, 
at  Nordens  aand  har  hjemme,  hvor  Nordens  hjerter  slaa."  In  number  8, 
May  15,  it  is  stated  that  the  paper  had  at  that  time  about  220  subscribers, 
having  recently  received  83  subscriptions  gathered  by  Peter  H.  Hugstad 
and  three  others  in  various  Norwegian  settlements  in  Wisconsin.  The 
subscriptions  were  almost  all  from  Norwegians.  Ole  Munch  Raeder,  the 
Norwegian  jurist  who  was  over  here  in  1847-48  to  study  the  jury  sys- 
tem,20 states  in  one  of  his  letters,  translated  and  edited  by  Gunnar  J.  Mal- 
min,  that  the  Western  subscribers  had  lost  interest  in  the  paper,  copies  of 
which  he  discovered  on  his  visit  to  Wisconsin.  It  may  be  taken  for  grant- 
ed that  the  paper  did  not  long  survive.21 

The  next  paper  which  appeared  in  New  York  was  the  S\andinaven, 
published  in  1851  and  1852  by  "3  Scandinavian  Republicans"  of  whom 
the  most  important  was  Anders  Gustaf  0bom.  This  paper  was  intended 
to  be  an  "organ  for  the  Scandinavians  in  America"  and  was  edited  in 
Swedish  and  Norwegian.  It  was  blasphemous  and  contained  many  scur- 
rilous articles,  attacks  on  the  King  and  government  of  Sweden  and 
Norway,  etc.  The  S\andinaven  had  no  fixed  day  of  publication,  but  was 
issued  when  it  suited  0bom's  convenience.  Not  a  single  copy  of  this 
paper  can  now  be  found  in  New  York,22  but  Mr.  A.  O.  Barton,  of  Madi- 
son, Wisconsin,  is  fortunately  in  possession  of  two  copies:  for  August 
19,  1851,  and  July  24,  1852.  One  is  mostly  in  Swedish,  the  other  mostly 
in  Norwegian.  S\andinaven  is  4  pages,  printed  on  good  paper  and  with 
fine,  clear  type  in  the  publication's  own  printery  at  17  Jacob  Street,  be- 
tween Ferry  and  Frankfort  Streets,  New  York.  We  learn  that  Adam 
L0venskjold,  the  Swedish-Norwegian  Consul,  has  his  office  at  94  Wall 
Street  .  .  .  Two  Norwegian  brigs,  Ariadne,  Captain  Tawle,  and  Aurora, 
Captain  S0rensen,  have  left  New  York,  and  the  schooner  Ebenezer, 

20Rasder  wrote  a  formidable  report  in  three  volumes  and  recommended  that  the 

jury  system  be  introduced  into  Norway. 
217^_orwegian  Migration  to  America,  Blegen,  p.  132.   America  in  the  Forties, 

Gunnar  J.  Malmin,  Norwegian' American  Historical  Association.  Information 

furnished  by  J.  Dieserud. 
22Svens\a  Tidningar  i>  Tor\,  by  V.  Berger. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Captain  Clausen,  and  the  bark  Juno,  Captain  Hunn,  have  arrived  ...  At 
ii  Jacob  Street  board  is  to  be  had  for  $2.50  per  week  ...  At  Scandinavian 
House,  90  Greenwich  Street,  presumably  a  boarding  house  and  saloon, 
Swedes,  Norwegians  and  Danes  can  be  met  every  day  . . .  Jenny  Lind, 
the  great  songstress,  is  resting  at  Niagara,  and  Marcus  Thrane  has  been 
imprisoned  in  Norway  as  a  martyr  to  his  advanced  social  ideas. 

In  the  copy  for  July  24,  1852,  it  is  stated  that  the  Norwegian  bark 
Emigrant  arrived  July  17,  40  days  from  Bergen,  with  129  passengers  .  .  . 
John  Harris,  Norwegian,  Swedish  and  Danish  Clothes  Merchant,  59 
West  Street,  announces  that  he  has  all  sorts  of  ready-made  clothing,  for 
use  both  on  land  and  sea,  at  the  most  reasonable  prices.  On  the  other 
side  of  town,  at  91  Market  Slip,  Albert  G.  Hansen  recommends  his  dry- 
goods  business,  including  oilskins  and  other  goods  for  seamen. 

When  Ole  Munch  Racder,  who  has  been  mentioned  before  in  this 
book,  was  visiting  the  Pine  Lake  District  of  Wisconsin  in  1847,  he  heard 
of  a  Norwegian  living  close  by,  named  Willie,  who  was  said  to  have  been 
an  officer  at  the  Bureau  of  Geographic  Survey  or  something  of  the  sort  in 
Norway.  "We  did  not  care  to  see  the  man,"  writes  Rseder,  "as  we  under- 
stood that  he  must  be  a  certain  cadet  by  that  name,  who  ran  away  from 
Kristiania  a  few  years  ago  and  who  later  went  on  to  New  York,  where  he 
first  made  a  living  by  driving  a  milk  wagon  and  selling  milk.  In  this 
way  (possibly  also  by  slyly  mixing  the  milk  with  water)  he  is  said  to  have 
saved  up  a  considerable  sum  of  money.  In  addition,  having  succeeded  in 
making  an  impression  on  the  daughter  of  his  employer,  the  milk  dealer, 
he  married  her.  He  then  started  a  milk  company  of  his  own,  which 
flourished  and  still  is  flourishing.  Not  long  ago,  he  moved  out  here  (to 
Wisconsin)  and  acquired  a  piece  of  property.  His  wife,  it  is  said,  dislikes 
the  country  and  longs  to  get  back  to  New  York,  where  the  milk  company 
is  still  carrying  on  business  in  his  name."23 

The  same  Raeder  is  not  very  enthusiastic  about  New  York.  He 
makes  the  following  statement  in  one  of  his  letters: 

"New  York  is  the  Gomorrha  of  the  New  World,  and  I  am  sure  it 
may  well  be  compared  with  Paris  when  it  comes  to  opportunities  for  the 
destruction  of  both  body  and  soul.  There  is  a  copious  literature  being 
published  now,  depicting  the  mysteries  and  miseries  of  city  life,  as  well 
as  popular  comedies  picturing  all  its  wretchedness  with  coarse  realism."24 

23America  in  the  Forties,  Rasder,  Malmin,  p.  230. 
24 America  in  the  Forties,  Rxder,  Malmin. 

The  Curtain  Rises 


The  Swedish  author,  Frederika  Bremer,  who  visited  America  in 
1849,  characterizes  Brooklyn  and  New  York  in  the  following  manner: 
"Again  in  New  York,  or  in  that  portion  of  the  great  city  which  is  called 
Brooklyn  and  which  is  separated  from  New  York  by  the  so-called  East 
River,  and  wants  to  be  a  city  by  itself,  having  full  rights  to  be  so  because 
of  a  character  of  its  own.  Brooklyn  is  as  quiet  as  New  York  is  bewilder- 
ing and  noisy;  Brooklyn  is  built  upon  the  heights  of  Long  Island,  has 
glorious  views  over  the  wide  harbor,  and  quiet,  broad  streets,  planted  on 
both  sides  with  alanthus  trees.  It  is  said  that  the  merchants  of  New  York 
go  over  to  Brooklyn,  where  they  have  their  houses  and  homes,  to  sleep. 
For  this  reason  Brooklyn  acquired  the  name  of  New  York's  bedroom. 

"New  York  appears  to  me  outwardly  a  dreary,  noisy  city,  without 
beauty  and  interest.  There  are  pretty  and  quiet  parts,  with  beautiful 
streets  and  dwellings;  but  there  the  life  in  the  streets  is  dead.  On  Broad- 
way again,  there  is  an  endless  tumult  and  stir,  crowds  and  bustle,  and  in 
the  city  proper  people  throng  as  if  for  dear  life,  and  the  most  detestable 
fumes  poison  the  air.  New  York  is  the  last  city  in  the  world  in  which 
I  would  live."25 

In  1830  Manhattan  had  a  population  of  202,589;  Brooklyn  20,535; 
Bronx  3,023;  Richmond  7,082,  and  Queens  9,049;  total  242,278.  Twenty 
years  later,  in  1850,  these  figures  were  almost  trebled:  Manhattan  515,- 
547;  Brooklyn  38,882;  Bronx  8,032;  Richmond  15,061,  and  Queens  18,- 
593;  total  696,115.  In  this  large  population  there  were  yet  only  392  Nor- 
wegians. Virtually  all  the  immigrants  went  West  immediately  upon  their 
arrival  in  New  York. 

This  is  shown  by  the  fact  that  in  1850  there  were  8,651  Norwegian- 
born  residents  of  Wisconsin,  nearly  one-half  the  entire  Norwegian  popu- 
lation of  the  U.  S.  Even  many  sailors  would  go  West,  either  to  sail  on  the 
Great  Lakes  or  to  try  their  hands  at  farming  or  other  pursuits.  In  the 
same  year  there  were  only  69  Norwegian-born  persons  in  Massachusetts. 


When  the  sloop  Restaurationen  arrived  in  New  York,  in  October, 
1825,  Brooklyn  was  but  a  small  town  across  the  East  River,  opposite  the 
Battery.  Brooklyn  Heights  was  then  known  as  Clover  Hill.  Chickens 

25 America  in  the  Fifties,  Fredrika  Bremer,  American-Scandinavian  Foundation, 
p.  21  and  39. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

scratched  in  Dutch  barnyards,  where  the  Brooklyn  Bridge  now  casts  its 
shadow,  and  cows  were  driven  to  pasture  through  tree-shaded  streets. 
The  town,  which  in  1830  had  about  20,000  inhabitants,  was  growing 

It  is  an  interesting  fact  that  the  first  Norwegian  to  visit  Brooklyn, 
as  far  as  there  is  any  record,  was  the  violinist  Ole  Bull.  He  gave  a  con- 
cert in  Brooklyn  in  1845.26  Some  Norwegian  sailors  may  possibly  have 
been  there  at  a  still  earlier  date. 

The  records  show  that  among  the  first  Norwegians  to  come  to 
Brooklyn  were  the  ship  carpenter  Aanon  Aanonsen  from  Kristiansand, 
and  his  wife  and  daughter  and  three  sons.  They  arrived  in  1849  and  at 
first  he  spelled  his  name  Onsen;  later  he  changed  it  to  Anson.  This  was 
in  the  days  of  the  gold  rush,  so  that  the  family  decided  to  try  gold  dig- 
ging in  California,  reached  by  way  of  New  Orleans  (where  they  lost  a 
grandfather's  clock  in  the  Mississippi),  and  across  the  Nicaraguan  Isth- 
mus. In  1855  or  thereabouts,  the  family  returned  to  Brooklyn.  Tom,  the 
elder  son,  became  captain  of  a  canal  boat,  and  John,  the  younger  son, 
went  into  business  at  95  Hamilton  Avenue,  Brooklyn,  and  became  a 
prominent  man.  John  was  a  member  of  the  board  of  directors  of  the 
Norwegian  Sailors'  Home  in  its  earliest  years  and  also  a  member  of  the 
directorate  of  a  bank  in  the  neighborhood.  He  was  a  ship  chandler  and 
did  a  large  business  with  Norwegian  ships.  He  once  supplied  400  such 
ships  with  meat  and  other  provisions  in  one  month.  He  was  known  for 
his  strict  honesty  and  paid  no  commissions,  yet  he  retained  his  trade. 
Anson  died  in  1892.  The  third  brother's  name  was  Peter.  Their  sister, 
Marie  Henriette,  married  Nikolai  Nielsen  from  Kristiansand  and  lived 
on  Degraw  Street.  She  died  in  1900,  leaving  a  son,  Al,  and  a  daughter, 
Nora,  a  teacher.27 

The  following  story  is  interesting,  but  dubious.  A.  S.  Andersen  of 
Brooklyn  relates  that  he  often  heard  John  Anson  assert  that  a  young  fel- 
low who  came  with  the  Anson  party  from  Norway  (he  was  no  relative, 
although  he  had  the  same  name)  was  identical  with  the  later  so  famous 
ball  player  Cap  or  Pop  Anson.  The  story  is  decidedly  weakened  by  in- 
vestigation. The  Dictionary  of  American  Biography  states  that  this  Anson 
was  born  April  17,  1852,  at  Marshalltown,  Iowa.  He  retired  from  base- 

26Ralph  Foster  Weld  in  Broo\lyn  Village. 

"Information  furnished  author  by  A.  S.  Andersen  and  Helena  Fallesen. 

The  Curtain  Rises 


ball  in  1897  at  tne  aSe  °f  45>  but  ^  ne  nac^  come  from  Norway  as  a 
young  man,  he  would  have  been  at  least  15  years  older  or  about  60  years, 
an  age  impossible  for  an  athlete.  The  Literary  Digest  of  May  6,  1922, 
states:  "As  to  'Pop's'  racial  origin,  accounts  vary.  Some  call  him  Swedish, 
others  of  English  and  Irish  descent,  a  view  held  by  the  great  player  him- 
self." He  died  in  1922. 

On  the  same  vessel  with  the  Anson  family  from  Kristiansand  in  1849 
came  John  Jeppesen  with  his  wife  and  a  boy,  Nicholas,  aged  11.  They 
lived  in  New  York  City  for  a  short  time  and  then  moved  to  18th  Street, 
Brooklyn,  which  became  one  of  the  early  Norwegian  centers.  After  a 
trip  to  the  gold  fields  in  California,  Jeppesen,  or  Jefferson  as  he  called 
himself,  established  himself  as  the  first  Scandinavian  stevedore  in  New 

Jeppesen  was  born  in  Denmark  in  1809,  but  ran  away  from  home  at 
the  age  of  1 1,  never  to  return.  He  settled  in  Kristiansand,  became  a  sailor 
and  navigator  and  owned  part  of  the  vessel  he  commanded.  He  married 
in  that  town,  and  when  his  wife  died,  leaving  the  boy,  Nicholas,  men- 
tioned above,  he  married  Miss  Inger  Iversen  and  immediately  sailed  for 
America.  By  the  second  wife  Jeppesen  had  the  following  seven  children: 
Mary,  who  was  a  singer;  Amelia,  who  became  the  wife  of  Christoffer 
Larsen,  a  baker  in  Van  Brunt  Street;  Joseph,  Julia  (Esbensen),  Camilla, 
Pamilla,  who  married  Gerhard  Manager;  and  Mrs.  Caroline  Bruun,  now 
a  widow  after  Alexander  Bruun.  She  has  a  son,  Dr.  Paul  Bruun,  in 
Quincy,  Massachusetts. 

Peter  Tobisen  married  a  sister  of  Inger  Iversen  named  Caroline.  He 
was  in  the  harness  business  on  Third  Avenue,  Brooklyn.28 

Harry  (Hans)  L.  Christian  was  also  one  of  the  Norwegians  who 
settled  in  Brooklyn  at  an  early  date.  He  was  born  in  Farsund,  Norway, 
about  1825,  went  to  sea  and  came  to  America  when  he  was  eighteen  years 
old  (in  the  Forties).  His  business  in  building  materials  at  Second  Street 
and  the  Gowanus  Canal,  Brooklyn,  prospered  and  Christian  became  a 
man  of  considerable  means.  When  he  died  in  1900,  he  left  $5,000  to  the 
Norwegian  Lutheran  Deaconesses'  Home  and  Hospital.29  He  also  estab- 
lished a  kindergarten,  mosdy  for  Norwegian  children,  at  236  President 

28Infonnation  furnished  the  author  by  Mrs.  Pamilla  Mariager  and  Mrs.  Dora 

29Hordis\  Tidende,  January  4,  1895;  January  11,  1900. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Street,  near  Clinton  Street,  and  the  house  still  carries  on  the  facade  the 
name  Christian  Memorial.  5" 

Thomas  Halvorsen,  born  in  Krager0  in  1836,  came  to  New  York  in 
1855.  He  was  a  sailor  in  the  beginning.  In  i860  he  established  an  under- 
taking business  which  he  carried  on  for  52  years.  He  died  in  October, 
1912.  His  son,  Edward  C.  Halvorsen,  continues  the  business.31 

It  is  also  of  interest  to  note  that  on  America's  Independence  Day, 
July  4,  1849,  a  young  mother  sat  weeping  on  board  a  small  schooner  off 
Ellis  Island.  She  was  a  penniless  Norwegian  immigrant,  a  stranger  in  a 
strange  land.  She  was  alone  in  the  world  save  for  her  little  son,  who 
stood  beside  her.  That  little  boy  was  the  later  so  famous  Knute  Nelson, 
then  six  years  old.32 

Tohan  Christian  Brotkorb  Dundas  (Dass)  was  born  at  Lur0y,  Helge- 
land,  Norway,  in  1812,  and  was  a  descendant  of  a  brother  of  the  famous 
poet  and  clergyman,  Petter  Dass.  He  had  studied  medicine  at  the  Uni- 
versity at  Oslo,  and  came  to  New  York  in  1847  as  doctor  on  board  an  im- 
migrant ship.  A  contributor  to  Emigranten,  cited  by  Carl  Hansen  in 
Nors^-Ameri^anernes  Festskjijt,  p.  14,  writes  that  Dr.  Dass  for  a  while 
assisted  in  editing  the  S\andinaven  of  1851.  He  was,  however,  advised 
by  the  Norwegian-Swedish  Consul,  Adam  L0venskjold,  who  recently  had 
returned  from  a  visit  to  the  Norwegian  settlement  at  Koshkonong,  Wis- 
consin, to  go  out  and  help  his  countrymen  there.  He  did  so  and  he 
proved  to  be  an  able  doctor.3"  In  S\andinaven,  New  York,  for  August 
19,  1851,  it  is  stated  that  there  is  a  letter  from  Bergen  waiting  for  Joh. 
Dass,  Dr.  Med.,  at  the  Swedish-Norwegian  Consulate. 

From  the  beginning  of  the  immigration  in  1825  until  about  1853, 
New  York  had  been  the  port  of  debarkation,  and  a  considerable  number 
of  ships  were  engaged  in  this  trade.  But  from  1853  to  1870,  most  of  the 
immigrants  came  by  way  of  Quebec  for  the  reason  that  the  fare  was 
cheaper  to  the  Canadian  city,  where  the  ships  were  fairly  certain  of  get- 
ting a  cargo  of  lumber  to  England  on  the  return  trip.  The  immigrant 
traffic  came  back  to  New  York  about  1870.34 

30C.  A.  Hanssen  to  the  author. 

31Hordis\  Tidende,  August  9,  1892;  October  31,  1912. 
32Martin  W.  Odland,  The  Life  of  Knute  Helson. 

33Pioneer  Health  Conditions,  Knut  Gjerset  and  Ludvig  Hektoen,  Studies  and 

Records,  Vol.  I,  p.  43. 
34Blegen,  J^orwegian  Migration,  p.  351. 

The  Curtain  Rises 


While  the  voyage  across  the  Atlantic  was  more  or  less  of  a  hardship 
on  board  the  small  boats  of  that  day,  the  trip  West  through  the  Erie 
Canal  was  decidedly  not  any  easier.  The  pioneer  clergyman,  H.  A.  Stub, 
and  his  wife  came  to  New  York  July  i,  1848,  on  board  the  small  two- 
master,  Statsraad  Vogt.  Of  the  trip  through  the  Canal,  their  son,  the 
later  President  of  the  Norwegian  Lutheran  Church  of  America,  Dr.  H. 
G.  Stub,  states  that,  "This  Canal  trip  was  in  many  ways  an  outright  tor- 
ture. The  suffering  immigrants  were  packed  together  in  the  open  canal 
boats  which  were  drawn  by  oxen  or  mules  on  tow-paths.  These  primitive 
means  of  travel  obliged  them  to  endure  many  days  in  the  heat  of  a  scorch- 
ing sun.  No  wonder  that  many  died  from  the  hardships  suffered  on  the 
trip,  and  that  many  more  were  ill  and  miserable  when  they  arrived  at 
their  destination." 

With  all  the  fine,  honest  and  dependable  people  who  were  coming 
over  from  Norway  to  try  to  better  themselves  in  the  new  country,  there 
arrived  also  some  few  who  were  no  credit  to  their  homeland.  A  disillu- 
sioned and  unhappy  immigrant  wrote  in  1843  that  New  York  was  a  lively 
and  populous  town,  but  also  seemed  to  be  "a  genuine  home  for  all  arch 
pickpockets  and  swindlers",  and  he  adds  that  the  pickpockets  whom  he 
and  his  companions  had  had  the  honor  of  meeting  were  not  Americans 
but  Norwegians — runners  in  the  employ  of  the  transportation  agencies.35 

There  evidently  must  have  been  a  good  deal  of  swindling  of  this  sort, 
as  the  Scandinavia  (to  be  mentioned  further  on)  in  its  issue  of  May  r, 
1847,  contains  a  notice  from  the  Norwegian-Swedish  Consulate,  asking 
immigrants  to  call  at  its  office  for  good  advice  against  swindlers  and  with 
reference  to  arrangements  for  traveling  inland. 

During  the  first  two  or  three  decades  following  1825  the  Norwegian 
community  was  in  an  unsettled  state.  A  large  percentage  of  the  group 
consisted  of  sailors  who  might  be  here  today  and  gone  tomorrow,  and 
therefore  did  not  take  much  interest  in  local  affairs.  But  many  of  them 
grew  tired  of  the  sea  and,  as  sailors  can  usually  make  a  living  at  a  good 
many  things,  they  settled  down  ashore  and  became  painters,  riggers,  iron- 
workers, and  carpenters,  or  found  employment  on  board  harbor  vessels. 

As  time  went  on  skilled  mechanics  of  various  kinds  also  began  com- 
ing from  Norway  to  New  York,  so  that  the  group  to  some  extent  changed 
character.  Among  these  newcomers  were  Lars  C.  Ihlseng  from  Oslo  and 

35Blegen,  ~Hprwegian  'Migration,  p.  20?. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Conrad  Narvesen.  They  landed  in  1852.  After  a  while  they  went  into 
partnership  and  established  a  piano  factory  under  the  firm  name  of 
Narvesen  &  Ihlseng,  which  continued  in  business  for  many  years.  Ihlseng 
died  in  May,  1902.  He  was  one  of  the  founders  of  the  Norwegian  So- 
ciety of  New  York.  His  son,  Magnus  Colbj0rn  Ihlseng,  was  an  infant 
less  than  a  year  old  when  he  was  carried  ashore  in  New  York  in  1852. 
His  mother's  name  was  Anna  M.  Ihlseng.  In  1877  he  received  the  de- 
gree of  Doctor  of  Philosophy  at  Yale  University  and  began  his  college 
teaching  as  instructor  in  physics  at  Columbia  University.  Later  he  be- 
came successively  professor  in  the  Colorado  School  of  Mines,  dean  in 
Pennsylvania  State  College,  president  of  Blairsville  College,  Blairsville, 
Pa.,  and  professor  in  the  Polytechnic  Institute  in  Brooklyn.  Professor 
Ihlseng  was  for  many  years  a  member  of  the  staff  of  the  Civil  Service 
Commission  of  the  City  of  New  York.:i0  He  died  in  1930. 

In  an  interview  in  Nordis\  Tidende,  published  October  8,  1925,  Pro- 
fessor Ihlseng,  then  an  old  man,  described  in  an  interesting  manner  life 
in  New  York  in  the  old  days: 

"My  father  had  a  piano  factory  together  with  C.  Narvesen  in  53rd 
Street,  New  York.  In  those  days  there  were  no  American  piano  factories 
outside  of  Steinway  and  Chickering,  and  many  Norwegians  who  arrived 
in  New  York  about  the  middle  of  the  last  century  started  to  make  pianos. 
Most  of  them  have  disappeared,  but  the  Gulbransen  piano,  now  manu- 
factured in  Chicago,  is  still  well  known.  Gulbransen  was  from  Stavan- 
ger.  He  was  highly  regarded  here  and  came  often  to  my  father's  home 
in  21st  Street.  We  celebrated  May  Seventeenth  in  Lion's  Brewery  Park 
at  96th  Street  near  East  River.  In  the  winters,  East  River  was  usually 
covered  with  ice  and  I  have  walked  across  the  river  to  Brooklyn  on 
the  ice."  Ihlseng  remembered  the  draft  riots  in  New  York  and  said  that 
the  public  felt  the  Civil  War  mostly  through  the  high  prices;  butter  for 
example,  cost  $1.50  per  pound! 


Going  through  Pictorial  Field  Boo\  of  the  Revolution  by  B.  J.  Las- 
sing  (published  1859),  Baron  Joost  Dahlerup,  a  New  York  Dane,  en- 
gaged in  historical  research,  came  across  an  interesting  item  concerning  a 

36The  Changing  of  the  West,  Lawrence  M.  Larsen,  p.  23. 

The  Curtain  Rises 

Norwegian,  who  was  buried  in  the  town  of  Fishkill  on  the  Hudson, 
New  York,  in  1765. 

Baron  Dahlerup  communicated  his  discovery  to  Carl  S0yland,  editor 
of  NordisJ^  Tidende,  who  drove  up  to  the  First  Reformed  Dutch  Church 
in  Fishkill  to  establish  the  facts  in  the  case. 

On  a  wall  in  the  old  church  hangs  the  photograph  of  a  silver  chalice, 
which  carries  the  following  inscription: 

"Presented  from  Samuel  Verplanck,  Esq.,  to  the  First  Reformed 
Dutch  Church  in  the  Town  of  Fishkill,  to  commemorate  Mr.  Englebert 
Huff,  by  birth  a  Norwegian,  in  his  lifetime  attached  to  the  life  guard  of 
the  Prince  of  Orange,  afterward  King  William  III  of  England.  He  re- 
sided for  a  number  of  years  in  this  country  and  died,  in  an  unblemished 
reputation,  at  Fishkill,  21st  of  March,  aged  128." 

The  valuable  chalice  itself  is  kept  hidden  in  some  safety  deposit 
vault.  Nothing  further  is  known  about  the  old  man,  except  that  at  the 
age  of  120  he  proposed  marriage  to  a  young  girl,  who  turned  him  down. 

Concerning  an  old  Norwegian,  who  lived  in  New  Jersey,  Baron 
Dahlerup  relates  the  following:  "Many  years  ago  I  read  about  a  Nor- 
wegian emigrant  ship37 — very  much  like  the  one  in  1825  (Restauration- 
en) — which  came  to  the  United  States  with  a  group  of  Norwegians,  who 
built  up  their  own  little  settlement  in  New  Jersey.  One  of  the  descend- 
ants of  this  group  was  T.  W.  Dickeson,  whose  biography  is  to  be  found 
in  Biographical  Encyclopedia  of  Pennsylvania  (1874). 

"William  T.  W.  Dickeson,  M.P.,  physician  and  scientist,  was  born 
in  Woodbury,  N.  J.,  January  4,  1828.  His  father,  although  a  native  of  the 
United  States,  was  of  Norwegian  extraction.  His  immediate  ancestors 
having  migrated  to  this  country,  with  a  colony  of  that  people,  in  1776, 
settled  as  farmers  at  Salem,  N.  J." 

Salem  is  in  Southern  New  Jersey,  on  the  Delaware  River. 

The  Minneapolis  Tidende  of  January  26,  1932,  contained  a  well- 
authenticated  article,  written  by  H.  Chr.  Hjortaas,  concerning  Adrian 
Benjamin  (Benoni)  Bentzon  from  Bergen,  who  married  Magdalene 
Astor,  daughter  of  John  Jacob  Astor,  in  1807.  She  was  America's  first 
dollar-princess.  The  ceremony  took  place  at  223  Broadway,  New  York. 

Adrian  Bentzon  was  born  in  T0nsberg  in  1777,  but  moved  three 

37As  far  as  Baron  Dahlerup  can  remember  this  ship  also  came  from  the  vicinity 
of  Stavanger. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

years  later  to  Bergen,  where  his  father  had  been  appointed  judge  (by- 
foged).  The  young  man,  who  had  become  lame  on  one  leg  through  an 
accident,  received  an  excellent  education  at  the  University  of  Copen- 
hagen and  graduated  as  a  jurist  with  the  highest  marks.  He  was  regard- 
ed as  an  unusually  able  man.  In  1816,  Hentzon  was  appointed  governor- 
general  ot  the  Danish  West  Indies  with  rank  as  major-general  and  he 
gradually  became  a  rich  man  in  his  own  right.  After  he  had  lost  his  high 
position  through  some  unjust  charges,  he  lived  at  Christiansted,  St. 
Croix,  where  he  died  in  1827,  only  50  years  old.  A  sister,  Maria  Eliza 
Bentzon,  unmarried,  died  in  Oslo  in  1863,  80  years  old.  Bentzon  has 
often  been  taken  for  a  Dane  for  the  reason  that  he  was  in  the  Danish 
government  service. 

John  Jacob  Astor  was  the  son  of  a  butcher  and  was  born  at  Waldorf, 
near  Heidelberg,  Germany,  in  1763.  He  came  to  New  York  in  1783, 
went  into  the  fur  business  and  traded  directly  with  the  Indians.  Later 
he  took  up  shipping,  mostly  in  the  China  trade,  and  real  estate,  and  was 
known  as  "the  landlord  of  New  York."  When  Astor  died  in  1848,  he 
left  property  valued  at  thirty  million  dollars. 

About  1805  a  Norwegian  sailor,  Torgus  Torkelsen  Gromstu,  came 
to  New  York  to  settle.  He  was  from  Gjerpen,  near  Skien.38 

In  October,  1934,  Robert  W.  Petersen,  an  old  sea  captain  of  Norwe- 
gian ancestry,  celebrated  the  one  hundredth  anniversary  of  his  birth  at 
his  home  in  Bay  Ridge,  Brooklyn.  The  data  concerning  the  doughty  cap- 
tain's ancestry  are  meager,  but  he  states  that  his  grandparents  came  from 
Norway  about  1805,  and  that  they  had  his  father  with  them.  Petersen 
himself  was  born  in  Westhampton,  Long  Island,  in  1834.  He  went  to 
sea  at  the  age  of  sixteen  and  remained  a  sailor  for  54  years.  He  had  a 
daughter,  Ettie  Elridge,  living  at  Cape  Cod,  Massachusetts.39 

In  1939,  there  was  a  patient  at  the  Norwegian  Hospital,  who  told  the 
chaplain  of  the  institution,  Rev.  Harold  Ronning,  that  he  was  of  Norwe- 
gian ancestry  one  or  two  hundred  years  back.  He  promised  to  get  the 
details  from  his  sister  and  mother,  who  lived  in  Bay  Ridge,  but  neglected 
to  do  so.  His  name  was  Ryan,  but  the  address  has  been  lost. 

These  cases,  and  a  few  similar  ones,  which  we  have  come  across 
while  preparing  the  present  book  (as  well  as  some  mentioned  by  other 

38John  O.  Evjen,  H,ordis\  Tidende,  October  8,  1925. 
3*Hordis\  Tidende,  October  18,  1934. 

The  Curtain  Rises 


historians),  seem  to  indicate  that  some  stray  Norwegians  kept  drifting 
into  the  United  States  in  the  decades  before  the  arrival  of  the  Restaura- 
ionen  in  1825. 

Emigranten,  a  newspaper  published  in  Wisconsin,  had,  in  1853,  a 
notice  to  the  effect  that  a  Norwegian-Danish  amateur  society  had  per- 
formed Gjenboerne,  by  Hostrup,  at  Buxton's  Theater,  New  York.40 

°~H.ors\-Ameri\anernes  Fests\rift,  p.  268. 



IT  May  Be  a  Little  Surprising  to  know  that,  while  the  majority  of  the 
Norwegians  today  live  in  Brooklyn,  they  showed  a  preference  for  Man- 
hattan in  the  days  that  we  are  now  dealing  with.  They  first  settled  a 
little  north  of  the  Manhattan  end  of  the  Brooklyn  Bridge,  undoubtedly 
for  the  reason  that  there  were  shipyards  and  docks  all  along  the  East 
Side  waterfront,  with  plenty  of  work  for  sailors,  riggers,  carpenters, 
painters,  etc.1  The  first  Norwegian  churches  were  also  situated  in  the 
same  general  neighborhood,  so  as  to  be  within  easy  reach  of  the  people. 
Later  on,  in  the  Seventies,  when  the  shipyards  moved  across  the  river 
to  Brooklyn,  the  Norwegians  followed  them. 

It  is  indicative  of  the  locality  of  the  Norwegian  section  that  the  sculp- 
tor, Mathias  Skeibrok,  of  Oslo,  placed  the  action  in  his  tall  story,  "The 
Man  With  the  Galoshes,"  in  James  Street,  which  is  in  this  district.  The 
most  Norwegian  Street  in  New  York  was  Market  Street,  with  its  exten- 
sion, Market  Slip. 

On  the  other  side  of  town,  at  4  Carlisle  Street,  between  Greenwich 
and  Washington  Streets,  New  York,  there  is  still  standing  a  three-story 
brick  house,  which  in  the  Seventies  and  Eighties  was  much  frequented 
by  Norwegian  sailors  and  immigrants.  It  was  in  those  days  a  boarding 
house,  run  by  Nicolai  Smith  from  Sokndal.  Smith  was  an  honest  and 
reliable  man,  who  besides  did  quite  a  business  as  a  ticket  agent  and 
banker  in  forwarding  money  to  Norway.  His  house  was  near  the  old 
immigrant  station,  Castle  Garden.2 

Castle  Garden,  which  now  serves  as  the  present  Aquarium  at  the 
Battery,  became  the  country's  chief  immigration  station  in  1855.  From 

1J<lew  Tor\  Sun. 

information  furnished  author  by  A.  S.  Andersen  from  Flekkefjord  who  came 
to  America  as  a  sailor  in  1880  and  became  a  well-known  painting  contractor 
in  Brooklyn. 


Shipping  and  the  Men  of  the  Sea 


that  year  until  1890,  when  immigrant  reception  was  transferred  to 
Ellis  Island,  7,690,606  aliens  entered  the  U.  S.  A.  through  the  portals 
of  Castle  Garden.  Since  1820,  America  has  been  enriched  by  38,219,687 
immigrants.  Nearly  70  per  cent  of  these  have  passed  through  New  York. 
Several  hundred  thousand  have  been  Norwegians.3 

In  Smith's  neighborhood,  on  the  corner  of  Washington  and  Carlisle 
Streets  (the  two-story  house  is  still  in  evidence),  a  Norwegian  by  the 
name  of  Albert  Nilsen  ran  a  boarding  house  and  saloon  for  deep-water 
sailors.  They  considered  themselves  quite  a  bit  above  the  sailors  in  the 
coastal  trade  and  did  not  care  to  mix  with  their  inferiors.4 

Another  well-known  boarding  house  in  the  late  Seventies  and  early 
Eighties  was  one  run  by  Stavanger-Larsen  in  Cherry  Street,  New  York. 
Larsen  was  a  prominent  boarding  master,  and  did  an  extensive  business 
with  Norwegian  and  other  Scandinavian  sailors.  One  of  his  runners  was 
China  Charley,  who  had  sailed  a  good  deal  on  China  and  was  born  in 
Ris0r.  Another  runner  who  worked  for  Stavanger-Larsen  for  a  long 
time  was  Harald  Birkeland  from  Flekkefjord.  Stavanger-Larsen  later 
moved  over  to  Sackett  Street,  Brooklyn,  where  he  ran  a  saloon  and  dance 

j0rgen  Gjerdrum,  a  Norwegian  business  man  who  visited  New  York 
in  December,  1874,  was  shocked  at  the  low  state  of  morals  among  the 
Norwegian  seamen  in  New  York,  but  he  blamed  the  many  temptations 
in  such  a  large  city.  He  was,  however,  encouraged  by  a  visit  to  a  Nor- 
wegian seamen's  boarding  house  on  New  York's  East  Side.  This  board- 
ing house  was  Baptist  and  "temperance"  and  was  most  likely  situated  in 
or  near  Market  Street.6 


Up  to  about  1845,  the  Norwegian  Merchant  Marine  had  consisted 
mostly  of  smaller  vessels,  totalling  only  245,000  tons  as  against  118,000 

3PM,  newspaper,  November  14,  1940. 
4A.  S.  Andersen,  Brooklyn,  to  author. 

5Told  the  author  by  a  77-year-old  sailor,  Charles  Carlsen,  now  a  farmer  in  Eagle 
River,  Wisconsin. 

6Gjerdrum's  America  Letters,  Carlton  O.  Qualey:  "Norwegian- American  Studies 
and  Records. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

tons  in  1825.  The  great  majority  of  the  ships  confined  their  operations 
to  Norwegian  coastwise  traffic  and  only  about  one-fourth  was  engaged  in 
foreign  trade  and  in  carrying  emigrants  to  America.  A  decisive  change 
occurred  toward  the  end  of  the  Forties,  when  the  shipping  industry  be- 
gan to  develop  along  international  lines.  The  aggregate  tonnage  under 
the  Norwegian  flag  increased  from  298,000  tons  in  1850  to  1,400,000  tons 
in  1875.  During  the  same  period  the  number  of  seamen  rose  from  21,000 
to  62,000. 

To  what  causes  may  be  ascribed  the  great  progress  of  the  Norwegian 
shipping  industry  in  this  period?  To  the  Danish-German  wars,  to  the 
war  in  the  Crimea,  to  the  American  Civil  War,  and  to  the  liberation  of 
international  sea-borne  commerce  by  the  repeal  of  the  British  Navigation 
Acts.  After  1849  foreign  vessels  could  without  any  restrictions  trade  on 
Great  Britain  and  the  British  colonies.  The  emigration  to  the  United 
States  also  played  quite  an  important  role  in  the  development  of  Nor- 
wegian shipping.  It  did  not  employ  a  large  number  of  ships — at  most 
about  fifty  a  year — but  it  could  be  depended  on  every  spring  and  grew 
in  volume,  thereby  encouraging  the  owners  to  invest  in  better  and  larger 
ships,  suitable  for  ocean  traffic.  It  also  fostered  the  growth  of  an  inde- 
pendent class  of  shipowners.7  It  was  hardly  less  important  that  at  about 
the  same  time  the  young  farming  community  of  the  United  States  be- 
came the  chief  source  of  grain  for  European  countries.  This  created  a 
large,  new  demand  for  shipping  services,  which  Norwegian  shipowners 
were  able  to  supply.  This  may  be  put  in  another  way:  The  Norwegian 
farmers  went  West  and  raised  grain,  which  the  Norwegian  sailors  took 
to  Europe.  But  the  real  secret  of  the  growth  of  the  Norwegian  shipping 
is  to  be  found  in  the  quality  of  the  sailors,  the  tradition  of  seamanship, 
the  true  spirit  of  the  sea.8 

Thus  it  came  about  gradually  that  Norwegian  ships  in  astonishing 
numbers  became  engaged  in  the  traffic  on  America  and  that  Norwegian 
sailors  by  the  thousands  emigrated  to  New  York  and  other  seaports  over 
here  in  order  to  seek  employment  at  high  wages  on  American  ships, 
yachts,  harbor  vessels,  and  in  the  Navy,  etc.  The  reason  for  the  exodus 
of  Norwegian  sailors  to  the  United  States  is  to  be  found  in  the  fact  that 
the  American  youth  had  to  a  great  extent  ceased  going  to  sea,  as  more 

7Jacob  S.  Worm-Muller,  Den  Hors\e  Sjefarts  Historic 
8Rygg,  The  Norwegian  Sailors  Home,  Broo\lyn,  p.  11. 

Shipping  and  the  Men  of  the  Sea 


lucrative  and  pleasant  work  was  plentiful  ashore,  and  the  West  was  beck- 
oning with  opportunities  of  all  kinds.  This,  of  course,  created  openings 
for  the  able  and  willing  Norwegian  sailors.9 

"Attention  must  be  called  to  an  aspect  of  the  situation  that  aroused 
governmental  (Norwegian)  concern,"  writes  Dr.  Blegen  in  Norwegian 
Migration  to  America,  p.  313.  "This  was  the  tendency  of  Scandinavian 
sailors,  drawn  by  offers  of  higher  wages  in  the  American  Merchant  Ma- 
rine or  by  advantages  in  the  American  interior,  to  desert  their  vessels  in 
New  York.  From  1846  to  1850,  according  to  a  consular  report,  502  sea- 
men deserted  from  212  Norwegian  vessels  and  910  from  256  Swedish 
vessels.  Only  25  of  the  Norwegian  and  36  of  the  Swedish  deserters  were 

"A  lengthy  report  by  the  Norwegian  charge  d'affaires  Sibbern,  'Om 
den  hyppige  r0mning  av  Norske  sj0folk  i  Amerika,'  appears  in  Morgen- 
bladet,  Oslo,  September  13,  1852. 

"The  desertions  continued  on  a  still  larger  scale  in  the  period  that 
followed.  It  is  estimated  that  not  less  than  4,050  Norwegian  seamen  de- 
serted from  1856  to  1865;  and  after  the  Civil  War,  the  numbers  were 
still  higher:  11,200  from  1871  to  1880;  and  19,487  for  the  fifteen-year 
period  from  1876  to  1890  inclusive."  Many  men  who  later  became  promi- 
nent, originally  stepped  ashore  in  America  as  deserting  seamen. 

It  may  be  pertinent  to  recall  here  that  it  was  the  contention  of  An- 
drew Furuseth,  the  outstanding  leader  of  the  American  seamen,  that  no 
man  should  be  compelled  to  work  against  his  will,  and  under  the  Act  of 
Congress  known  as  the  La  Follette-Furuseth  Law  of  March,  1915,  no 
sailor,  under  American  jurisdiction,  can  be  stopped  from  leaving  ship 
in  any  safe  harbor.  Seamen  can  no  longer  be  hunted  as  deserters  by  the 
police  and  brought  back  on  board. 

About  11  o'clock  one  evening  in  August,  1852,  the  steamer  Atlantic, 
Captain  Petty,  left  Buffalo  for  Detroit.  The  ship  was  overloaded  with 
830  immigrants  and  freight.  Later  in  the  night  another  steamer,  the 
Ogdensburg,  of  a  competing  line,  hove  in  sight.  There  was  deadly  en- 
mity between  the  captains  and  owners  of  the  two  lines,  and  they  tried 
in  all  possible  ways  to  injure  each  other.  The  captain  of  the  Atlantic, 

97<[orway's  Export  Trade,  The  Blix  Publishing  Company,  Oslo,  by  Christian 
Haaland,  President,  Norwegian  Shipowners'  Association,  p.  110-111. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

therefore,  thought  it  would  be  a  clever  stroke  if  he  could  ram  the  other 
boat,  and  so  he  turned  off  all  lights  and  made  straight  for  the  enemy. 

By  a  skillful  maneuver  the  Ogdensburg  avoided  the  danger  of  being 
rammed,  but  the  captain  became  so  furious  over  the  attempt  to  sink  his 
ship,  that  he  in  turn  made  for  the  Atlantic  and  succeeded  in  sinking  her. 
More  than  500  immigrants  were  drowned.  Of  134  people  from  Valdres, 
68  lost  their  lives.10 

The  peculiar  thing  about  this  story  is  that  nothing  is  said  about  what 
happened  to  the  two  alleged  murderous  captains.  It  is  hardly  likely  that 
500  persons  would  have  been  robbed  of  their  lives  without  any  notice 
having  been  taken  of  it  by  the  authorities.  Was  this  perhaps  an  entirely 
accidental  collision? 

A  more  acceptable  account  of  this  disaster  is  to  be  found  in  Vol.  IV, 
Studies  and  Records,  published  by  the  Norwegian  -  American  Historical 
Association.  This  account  is  written  by  Henrietta  Larsen,  who  says  that 
competition  on  the  Great  Lakes  was  so  fierce  that  the  captains  took 
chances.  The  reason  for  the  strange  collision  between  the  Atlantic  and 
the  Ogdensburg  is  more  or  less  a  mystery,  as  a  committee  of  inquiry 
reached  no  definite  conclusion.  Two  theories  remain:  first,  that  there  was 
careless  miscalculation  on  the  part  of  one  or  both  of  the  pilots,  possibly 
induced  by  a  desire  to  "make  time";  and,  secondly,  that  one  of  the  pilots 
deliberately  tried  to  injure  a  rival  boat.  This  and  similar  disasters  made 
Congress  pass  a  bill  providing  for  effective  government  supervision. 

Captain  Niels  Olsen,  superintendent  of  the  New  York  Yacht  Club 
for  more  than  thirty  years,  was  born  in  Kristiansand  in  1835,  and  went 
to  sea  in  1852.  He  came  to  New  York  in  1853  and  sailed  for  thirteen 
years  in  American  yachts.  In  1866,  Olsen  was  mate  on  board  the 
schooner-yacht  Fleetwing  in  a  race  across  the  Atlantic,  and  in  the  follow- 
ing year  he  became  Captain  of  the  yacht  Columbia.  At  the  request  of 
James  Gordon  Bennett  and  others,  this  hardy  Norseman,  in  1871,  accept- 
ed the  position  of  superintendent  of  the  New  York  Yacht  Club.  He  was 
one  of  the  leading  authorities  on  yachting  in  America.  Olsen  was  one 
of  the  founders  of  the  Norwegian-American  Seamen's  Association  and 
also  one  of  the  incorporators  of  the  Norwegian  Sailors'  Home.  His  son, 

10Hjalmar  Rued  Holand,  T^orge  i  America,  p.  145. 

Shippinc  and  the  Men  of  the  Sea 


John  Alexander  Olsen,  was,  in  1898,  captain  of  Company  K,  201st  New 
York  Regiment.11 


Many  of  the  captains  on  the  old  emigrant  ships  plying  back,  and  forth 
between  Norwegian  and  American  ports  became  quite  well  known  on 
this  side  of  the  ocean.  Here  was,  for  instance,  Captain  T.  Olsen,  perhaps 
better  known  as  Hebe  Olsen,  who  died  in  Stavanger  in  1894.  He  was 
already,  in  the  Forties,  employed  in  the  emigrant  trade,  and  he  got  his 
name,  Hebe  Olsen,  from  the  frigate  Hebe,  which  he  commanded  for 
many  years.12 

Fredrik  Abraham  Blix  was  born  in  Porsgrund  in  1828  and  went  to 
sea  at  the  age  of  twelve.  In  1854,  he  came  to  New  York  as  Master  of  the 
Norwegian  ship  Hygeia.  Four  years  later — in  1858 — he  was  back  again 
in  New  York,  this  time  with  the  good  ship  Grevinde  Karen  Wedel  farls- 
berg,  which  carried  emigrants.  In  1862,  Blix  quit  the  sea.  For  some 
years  he  carried  on  business  as  a  ship  broker  in  Sandefjord,  Norway,  and 
Gothenburg,  Sweden,  and  was  also  for  a  couple  of  years  a  teacher  at  the 
school  of  navigation  in  Oslo,  until  in  1871  he  emigrated  to  New  York. 
He  was  for  many  years  employed  by  the  New  York  firm  of  Funch,  Edye 
&  Company,  ship  brokers  and  freight  agents.  His  son,  Captain  Louis 
Blix,  was  for  many  years  a  familiar  figure  in  the  harbor  and  in  shipping 
circles  in  New  York.13 

Hans  Friis,  who  was  born  near  Farsund,  Norway,  in  1809,  made  as 
a  ship's  mate  nine  trips  to  New  York  with  emigrants  between  1837  and 
1847,  on  board  the  Enigheden,  Emelia  and  Tricolor.  In  1847,  Friis  pro- 
ceeded to  Milwaukee,  Wisconsin,  where  he  became  a  sailor  and  a  captain 
on  the  Great  Lakes.  During  the  Civil  War,  he  served  in  the  Union 
Army  and  was  severely  wounded  at  Petersburg.  He  died  on  his  farm  in 
Wisconsin  in  1886.14 

Captain  (later  Commander)  Herman  Roosen  Smith  was  in  1841 
engaged  by  H.  E.  M0ller  in  Porsgrund  as  master  of  the  brig  Washington. 

^Kordisk  Tidende,  July  4,  1901. 

12Hordis\  Tidende,  April  20,  1904. 

™Hordis\  Tidende,  March  31,  1898. 

14Gjerset,  'H.orwegian  Sailors  on  the  Great  La\es,  p.  26. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

It  had  on  board  63  emigrants  from  Telemarken,  and  tradition  has  it 
that  this  was  the  first  ship  to  bring  a  cargo  of  iron  from  Fritz0  (Larvik) 
to  America.  The  export  of  iron  from  Norway  to  America  was  made  pos- 
sible by  the  emigrant  ships,  and  even  Restaurationen  carried  some  iron.15 
The  iron  from  Norway  was  highly  rated  here  in  America. 

Norway  in  turn  imported  from  America  cotton,  wheat,  flour,  rice, 
tobacco,  rye,  log-wood,  rosin,  and  other  products.16 

There  was  always  a  strong  whiff  of  the  briny  sea  over  the  Norwegian 
Colony  in  those  early  days.  Most  of  the  people  encountered  had  either 
been  or  still  were  sailors,  or  they  were  employed  in  shipyards,  or  harbor 
vessels  or  in  business  having  to  do  with  shipping.  In  consequence  here- 
of, a  strong  atmosphere  of  the  sea  prevailed.  In  later  years  the  Colony's 
briny  characteristics  became  perhaps  less  pervasive,  but  the  nearness  of 
the  harbor  and  the  ocean  and  the  fact  that  Norwegian  ships  were  daily 
running  in  and  out  of  the  port,  coupled  with  the  fact  that  Norwegian 
seamen  from  across  the  ocean  were  always  about,  gave  the  Norwegian 
Colony  in  New  York  a  considerably  different  color  from  that  of  the  settle- 
ments in  Chicago  and  Minneapolis.  It  was  unquestionably  more  sea- 
conscious  and  perhaps  more  Norwegian. 

A  rescue  at  sea  which  attracted  wide  public  attention  took  place 
September  12,  1857.  The  passenger  ship  Central  America  left  Havana, 
September  8,  and  ran  into  a  furious  storm  in  the  Atlantic  off  the  Ameri- 
can coast.  Just  as  the  steamer  was  about  to  founder,  the  American  brig 
Marine  hove  in  sight  and  proceeded  to  the  rescue.  Its  crew  succeeded  in 
saving  some  of  the  people  on  board,  but  they  had  to  give  up  further  at- 
tempts because  the  brig  itself  was  in  a  damaged  condition.  Then  sudden- 
ly the  bark  Ellen,  from  Arendal,  Norway,  Captain  Anders  Johnsen,  35 
years  old,  appeared  upon  the  scene,  and  the  Norwegian  seamen  succeeded 
in  rescuing  forty-nine  additional  passengers  before  the  Central  America 
went  to  the  bottom.  Of  the  592  persons  on  board,  only  166  were  saved. 

For  this  heroic  action  President  Buchanan  (who  preceded  Abraham 
Lincoln)  sent  Captain  Johnsen  a  valuable  gold  chronometer  with  gold 
chain  and  the  following  inscription:  "From  the  President  of  the  United 
States  to  Captain  Anders  Johnsen,  Master  of  the  Norwegian  bark  Ellen, 
in  recognition  of  heroism  shown  in  saving  49  persons  from  the  steamer 

15Jacob  S.  Worm-Muller:  Den  nors\e  Sjefarts  Historic. 
16Blegen:  J^orwegian  Migration,  II,  p.  11. 

Shipping  and  the  Men  of  the  Sea 


Central  America,  September  12,  1857. "1T  Ellen  came  from  Honduras 
and  was  bound  for  England. 

The  brave  captain  died  in  Arendal,  but  two  daughters  resided  in 
Brooklyn:  Ingeborg,  who  kept  books  for  Helmin  Johnsen,  furniture 
dealer,  and  Josephine  Andersen,  who  at  one  time  lived  in  54th  Street, 

This  is  the  first  case  on  record  where  an  American  President  has 
honored  a  Norwegian  seaman.  In  later  years  Presidents  William  McKin- 
ley,  Theodore  Roosevelt  and  William  Howard  Taft  have  had  occasion 
to  bestow  similar  honors. 


The  New  England  Historical  and  Genealogical  Register™  contains 
an  account  of  a  son  of  Norway  who  fought  with  the  redoubtable  Paul 
Jones  for  the  independence  of  the  United  States.  Thomas  Johnson  was 
the  son  of  a  pilot  in  Mandal,  where  he  was  born  in  1758.  He  towed  the 
first  American  vessel,  the  Ranger,  commanded  by  Paul  Jones,  into  the 
harbor  of  Mandal.  After  their  arrival,  Jones  presented  the  young  pilot 
with  a  piece  of  gold.  Captain  Jones  had  made  the  port  of  Mandal  for 
the  purpose  of  recruiting  the  crew  of  the  Ranger  and  Johnson  was  re- 
ceived on  board  as  a  seaman.  On  assuming  command  of  the  Bon  Homme 
Richard,  Jones  transferred  some  30  volunteers  from  the  Ranger,  among 
whom  was  Thomas  Johnson,  who,  following  the  fortunes  of  his  leader, 
went  with  him  to  the  Serapis  and  Alliance,  and  finally  arrived  in  the  Ariel 
in  Philadelphia,  February  18,  1781,  when  23  years  of  age.  At  this  time, 
Congress  was  in  session  in  Philadelphia,  and  an  application  having  been 
made  to  Captain  Jones  to  furnish  a  man  to  take  charge  of  a  sloop  to 
Boston  to  convey  the  furniture  of  John  Adams  to  Philadelphia,  he  ap- 
pointed Johnson,  who  performed  the  service. 

Mr.  Adams  knew  that  Johnson  had  been  in  the  recent  conflict  of 
the  Serapis  and  Bon  Homme  Richard,  and  liked  to  get  the  particulars 
from  Johnson  and  other  sailors.  During  the  time  Johnson  remained  in 
Philadelphia,  General  Washington  arrived  and  was  presented  to  Con- 

17Hew  Tor\  Herald,  September  22,  1857. 

18A  clipping  on  this  item  has  been  preserved  by  the  Rev.  C.  O.  Pedersen  for 
twenty  years. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

gress.  Johnson  and  other  sailors  were  present,  and  listened  to  the  intro- 
duction by  President  Hancock  and  the  reply  by  General  Washington. 
Some  days  later  when  the  sailors  were  in  the  hall,  Mr.  Adams  brought 
General  Washington  to  them,  and  the  Father  of  his  Country  shook  each 
by  the  hand.  Johnson  soon  after  left  the  navy  and  entered  the  American 
merchant  marine  service  for  some  years,  but  eventually  he  returned  to  the 
navy,  in  which  he  remained  until  near  the  end  of  his  life. 

Thomas  Johnson  assisted  Paul  Jones  in  lashing  the  Bon  Homme 
Richard  to  the  Serapis,  and  was  probably  the  last  survivor  of  this  celebrat- 
ed naval  batde.  He  died  at  the  United  States  Naval  Asylum,  Philadel- 
phia, on  the  1 2th  of  July,  1 851,  93  years  old,  having  been  for  many  years 
a  pensioner  in  the  Home,  where  he  was  known  by  the  soubriquet  of 
"Paul  Jones." 

Another  Norwegian,  Lars  Bruun,  also  served  under  John  Paul  Jones. 
At  least  two  Swedish  sailors  were  on  board  the  Bon  Homme  Richard  in 
the  fight  with  the  Serapis. 


Nowadays,  93,000  vessels  enter  New  York  harbor  annually  and  to 
take  them  in  safely  there  are  99  pilots  on  call.  In  the  olden  days,  there 
used  to  be  keen  competition  between  the  various  groups  of  pilots,  who 
often  would  travel  far  out  to  sea  in  order  to  pick  up  ships.  Now,  they  all 
belong  to  an  association  and  they  take  their  turn.  The  earnings  are 
equally  divided,  so  that  it  makes  no  difference  whether  a  pilot  gets  a 
small  or  a  large  ship.  The  pilotage  fees,  fixed  by  statute,  are  based  upon 
the  draft  of  vessels.  The  Queen  Mary,  for  instance,  pays  about  $185;  a 
small  cargo  ship  about  $33  for  the  same  service.  About  thirty  years  ago, 
there  used  to  be  many  Norwegians  in  the  pilot  service,  but  lately  the 
number  has  been  reduced.  The  entrance  requirements  are  stricter:  50 
per  cent  must  be  born  in  the  United  States  and  all  must  be  citizens.19 

When  Captain  John  Petersen  retired  in  1934,  he  had  been  a  pilot  in 
New  York  harbor  for  thirty-nine  years.  Petersen  was  born  in  Sandnaes 
near  Stavanger  and  went  to  sea  as  a  boy.  He  circled  the  globe  in  sailing 
vessels  and  came  to  New  York  in  1882,  seventeen  years  of  age.  A  high- 
light of  his  career  as  a  pilot  came  in  1899,  when  he  guided  Admiral 

^Metropolis,  Lloyd  Morris. 

Shipping  and  the  Men  of  the  Sea 


Dewey's  flagship,  the  Olympia,  up  the  harbor  in  the  Water  Parade,  cele- 
brating the  triumph  in  Manila  Bay.  When  in  1932  he  visited  his  birth- 
place, Sandnses,  he  had  been  away  for  more  than  52  years.  Captain 
Petersen  died  in  1939.20 

Jacob  Eriksen  from  Oslo  was  when  he  died  in  1903  the  oldest  pilot 
in  New  York  harbor.  He  was  65  years  old  at  his  death  and  he  had  been 
a  pilot  for  thirty-nine  years  from  1864. 

Charles  Thompson,  born  in  Slemmedal  near  Larvik  in  1845,  had 
been  a  pilot  since  he  was  seventeen  years  old;  when  he  died  in  1906,  he 
had  been  a  pilot  at  Sandy  Hook  for  more  than  forty  years. 

Four  other  veterans  in  the  pilot  service  can  be  mentioned:  Johan  Bel- 
mont from  Oslo;  Martin  Reiersen,  Henry  Pedersen  from  Haugesund,  and 
Thorvald  Torgersen  from  Kristiansand,  born  1854.21  Torgersen's  son, 
Thomas,  is  now  a  pilot  at  Sandy  Hook.  Belmont  retired  in  1934  after 
thirty-nine  years  service  as  a  pilot.  He  died  in  1941,  80  years  of  age. 


From  1870  to  about  191  o,  Hamilton  Avenue,  Brooklyn,  was  in  its 
full  glory  as  a  Norwegian  thoroughfare,  and  there  were  both  good  and 
bad  reasons  for  it.  The  Hamilton  Ferry  was  in  those  days  one  of  the 
main  connections  between  Brooklyn  and  New  York  and  in  the  nearby 
Erie  Basin  and  Atlantic  Basin  there  was  always  to  be  found  a  large  num- 
ber of  Norwegian  ships.  Hamilton  Avenue  was  filled  with  saloons  and 
dives  which  made  a  specialty  of  catering  to  the  generous  and  open-handed 
Norwegian  sailors.  And  when  the  crews  came  off  the  ships  in  the  eve- 
nings there  was  life  and  activity  along  the  notorious  Avenue.  Many  a 
fine  young  man  has  been  fleeced  of  his  hard-earned  money  and  has  come 
to  grief,  morally  and  physically,  along  this  thoroughfare  and  its  neigh- 
borhood. Some  of  these  saloons  had  bedrooms  upstairs,  where  the  drunk- 
en sailors  could  be  robbed  of  their  money  at  leisure.  In  order  to  counter- 
act the  evil  influences  of  the  district,  the  Norwegian  Seamen's  Church 
and  the  Norwegian  Sailors'  Home  were  established  nearby.  Nowadays, 
however,  Hamilton  Avenue  is  merely  a  pale  memory  of  its  former  self. 

20A[eui  Yor\  Times. 

21Hordis\  Tidende,  September  14,  1899;  February  12,  1903;  August  2,  1906; 
June  25,  1907. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

In  fact,  with  the  widening  of  the  street  and  the  construction  of  the  tunnel 
to  the  Battery  the  old  thoroughfare  has  changed  character  altogether. 
Mr.  Ole  Singstad  is  the  chief  engineer  of  this  great  undertaking.  And  so 
one  may  say  that  there  is  still  one  more  constructive  activity  carried  out 
by  a  Norwegian — the  building  of  an  automobile  speedway  and  a  tunnel! 

In  the  olden  days  many  of  the  saloon  keepers  were  Norwegians  and 
some  of  them  would  give  their  places  patriotic  and  inviting  names.  Cafe 
Tordenskjold  was  popular  and  known  by  numerous  Norwegian  sailors 
on  both  sides  of  the  ocean.  Cafe  Viking  was  doing  a  brisk  trade  with 
thirsty  seafarers,  and  Cafe  Grimstad  appealed  to  the  descendants  of  Terje 
Viken.  Over  on  Columbia  Street  there  was  an  Irishman  by  the  name  of 
Higgins  who  seemed  to  have  cornered  the  trade  from  Stavanger. 

In  later  years,  during  the  prohibition  era,  the  speakeasies  were  to  a 
great  extent  run  by  Italians  who  on  occasion  would  beat  up  the  drunken 
and  unsuspecting  Norwegians.  Knives,  baseball  bats  or  other  tools  might 
be  used.  What  made  such  cases  particularly  aggravating  was  the  fact  that 
some  of  these  places  %vould  attempt  to  draw  customers  by  their  Norwe- 
gian names,  as,  for  instance,  Cafe  Arendal,  and  by  having  the  Norwegian 
flag  painted  on  the  windows.  It  even  happened  that  Norwegian  waitresses 
were  used  as  bait.  And,  of  course,  the  stuff  sold  was  abominable.  The 
situation  became  so  bad  that  public-spirited  Norwegians  came  together 
and  elected  a  committee  {bule\omiteen)  to  combat  the  evil.  Dr.  A.  N. 
Rygg  was  chairman  and  Pastor  J.  C.  Herre  was  in  charge  of  the  actual 
work.  The  committee  did  some  good  work;  for  instance,  the  Norwegian 
names  and  flags  disappeared  from  the  windows  of  the  joints,  and  Dr. 
Rygg  wrote  an  open  letter  to  the  Police  Commissioner  which  attracted 
attention.  But  a  small  committee  could  not  make  any  definite  headway 
against  the  30,000  speakeasies  which  then  existed,  and  it  would  be  a 
pity  to  say  that  the  police  were  enthusiastic  about  law  enforcement. 

Max  Normann,  a  keen  business  man,  came  to  New  York  from  Lille- 
sand  with  his  parents  in  1873.  His  father,  Johan  Georg  Normann,  estab- 
lished himself  as  a  ship  chandler  and  Max  secured  employment  with  the 
ship  brokerage  firm  of  Benham  and  Boyesen.  Of  this  firm  Max  later  be- 
came a  member  and  president.  His  brother,  Captain  Henry  Normann, 
who  for  many  years  was  master  of  American  ships,  also  became  a  mem- 
ber of  the  firm,  when  Benham  died  and  when  B.  C.  Boyesen  went  to 
England  to  live.  When  the  Norwegian-America  Line  was  started  in  1913, 

Shipping  and  the  Men  of  the  Sea 


Max  became  president  of  the  line  on  this  side  of  the  Atlantic.  He  died  in 
1 91 5,  58  years  old,  and  the  presidency  of  the  company  was  taken  over  by 
Henry  Normann,  who  died  in  1928.  The  firm  of  Benham  and  Boyesen 
is  now  owned  by  the  Norwegian-America  Line.22 

Johan  G.  Normann,  who  was  a  cousin  of  Max  and  Henry  Normann, 
was  born  in  Stavanger  in  1857,  and  came  to  New  York  in  1877.  He 
started  his  business  in  1883  on  Hamilton  Avenue,  Brooklyn,  where  he 
handled  tobacco  and  notions  of  various  kinds,  forwarded  money  to  Nor- 
way, sold  Norwegian  books  and  papers,  and  did  a  very  extensive  business 
with  the  Norwegian  sailors  who  came  into  the  Port  of  New  York.  Hun- 
dreds of  them  would  have  their  mail  addressed  to  him,  so  that  he  actual- 
ly was  running  a  large  post  office.  Normann  was  also  in  very  close  con- 
tact with  the  yachting  activities  in  and  about  New  York  and  Long  Island 
Sound  and  every  year  was  able  to  place  a  large  number  of  Norwegian 
sailors  on  board  the  yachts.  The  little  square  in  front  of  his  store  was 
often  called  Normann  Square. 


The  year  1880  is  generally  regarded  as  marking  the  culminating 
point  in  the  fierce  struggle  between  steam  and  the  while  sails.  Steam 
had  definitely  won  over  the  sailing  vessel  by  reduced  costs,  increased 
capacity  and  faster  schedules.  While  the  Norwegians  also  went  over  to 
steam  gradually,  building  mostly  small  steamers  as,  for  instance,  for  the 
banana  trade,  they  nevertheless  stuck  to  their  white  sails  for  many  years 
to  come,  seeking  charters  where  they  still  could  compete.  This  again  had 
the  peculiar  effect  that,  while  the  number  of  Norwegian  ships  coming  into 
New  York  grew  less,  the  number  of  Norwegian  sailors  coming  over  here 
to  seek  employment  on  board  American  ships  was  on  the  increase.  It  has 
been  stated  that  in  the  year  1893,  there  were  23,000  Norwegians  engaged 
in  the  American  Merchant  Marine  and  on  board  yachts  and  harbor  ves- 
sels. The  dying  out  of  the  sailing  vessels  was  a  hard  blow  to  most  of  the 
coastal  towns  of  Norway.  Shipbuilding  became  extinct,  and  the  seamen 
could  find  nothing  to  do  except  by  going  across  the  Atlantic. 

The  New  York  Maritime  Register  for  January  6,  1897,  reported, 
however,  that  two  hundred  and  seventeen  schooners,  forty-eight  barks, 

227^.ordis\  Tidende,  November  25,  191?. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

twelve  brigs  and  ninety-eight  steamers  had  entered  the  Port  of  New 
York  on  that  day.  It  will  thus  be  seen  that  sailing  vessels  still  outnum- 
bered the  steamers  by  three  to  one. 

The  first  Norwegian  steamer  in  the  banana  trade  was  the  S.  S.  Stam- 
ford from  Stavanger,  which  started  in  1886.  By  1914,  fifty  percent  of  this 
trade  from  the  West  Indies  and  Central  America  to  the  United  States 
was  carried  by  Norwegian  steamers. 

A  good  many  Norwegian  sailors  have  been  in  the  habit  of  going  to 
the  Great  Lakes  in  the  United  States  in  the  spring,  sailing  there  during 
the  summer  and  then  returning  in  the  fall  to  New  York.  This  is  probably 
not  so  much  the  custom  now,  owing  to  the  depression  and  the  recent 
legislation  requiring  sailors  to  be  American  citizens.  Many  would  go  to 
Norway  in  the  fall  and  return  in  the  spring. 

Oluf  Johnsen  from  Stavanger  supported  himself  by  making  models 
of  ships.  His  customers  were  mostly  millionaires  from  the  New  York 
Yacht  Club.  J.  Pierpont  Morgan  at  one  time  paid  Johnsen  $5,000  for 
a  model  which  took  three  years  to  finish.  In  all  Johnsen  had  made  more 
than  700  models. 

Sailmaker  Olaf  Sand,  also  called  Sandy  Hook,  was  from  Stavanger. 
In  his  day  he  made  the  sails  for  the  Vigilant,  the  Defender,  the  Columbia, 
and  a  multitude  of  other  yachts.  Nobody  could  shape  a  sail  as  he  could, 
so  that  it  would  hang  just  right.  In  1912,  Sand  left  New  York  for  Pensa- 
cola,  where  he  was  made  superintendent  of  the  government's  sailmaking 

Hans  Hansen,  born  in  Stavanger,  1866,  came  to  New  York  in  1885, 
and  after  having  been  a  sailor,  he  entered  the  employ  of  John  Boyle  and 
Company,  as  sailmaker.  He  remained  with  the  firm  for  36  years.  Bertini- 
us  B0rresen,  also  from  Stavanger,  worked  for  the  same  firm  and  had 
an  even  longer  record. 



I  N  1841,  New  York  was  visited  by  a  man  who  came  on  a  rather  unique 
■  errand.  It  was  the  renowned  lay  preacher  and  Haugean,  Elling  Eiel- 
sen,  who  had  come  to  this  country  in  1839  and  who  in  1841  at  Fox 
River,  Illinois,  had  built  the  first  Norwegian  house  of  worship  in 
America.  He  wanted  to  get  the  Lutheran  Catechism  printed  in  English 
in  the  same  kind  of  type  (Gothic)  used  in  his  Norwegian  Catechism,  a 
printing  job  which  at  the  time  could  not  be  done  in  Chicago.  He  walked 
all  the  way  to  New  York,  and  economic  considerations  most  likely  dic- 
tated the  walking.  Again,  in  1842,  Elling  Eielsen  footed  it  to  New  York, 
this  time  to  get  Pontoppidan's  Sandhed  til  Gudjrygtighed  {Truth  Unto 
Godliness)  and  the  Augsburg  Confession  printed  in  one  volume  in  Nor- 
wegian, also  in  Gothic  type.  The  printery  was  at  176  Bowery.  This  was 
the  first  Norwegian  book  to  be  printed  in  America.  During  his  visits 
to  New  York  Eielsen  supported  himself  as  a  carpenter.  When  he  was 
through  with  his  mission  he  returned  on  foot  to  the  Northwest,  where 
he  became  one  of  the  outstanding  Norwegian  churchmen  in  America.1 

There  was  another  Norwegian  pioneer,  the  pathfinder,  Cleng  Peer- 
son,  who  could  compete  with  Eielsen  as  a  walker.  In  1833,  Cleng  walked 
from  the  Kendall  settlement  near  Rochester,  New  York,  to  Chicago, 
which  then  was  only  a  village  consisting  of  twenty  huts.2 

In  more  modern  days  there  lived  a  man  in  Brooklyn  by  the  name  of 
George  Petersen,  born  in  Oslo.  He,  too,  was  a  believer  in  the  saying  that 
walking  is  good  both  for  body  and  soul.  In  1894,  he  walked  from  City 
Hall,  Brooklyn  (then  an  independent  city),  to  Chicago,  a  distance  of 
1002  miles,  in  32  days,  thus  averaging  a  little  more  than  31  miles  a  day.3 

The  Norwegian  books  published  in  this  country  in  the  early  years  of 

^History  of  the  Norwegian  People  in  America,  Norlie. 
2History  of  the  Norwegian  People  in  America,  Norlie. 
3Hordis\  Tidende,  November  30,  1894. 



Norwegians  in  New  York 

the  Norwegian  immigration,  with  the  exception  of  a  veterinary  book 
(Dyrlagebog,  1859  by  Chr.  Krug),  were  all  reprints  of  religious  books. 
Bibles  were  secured  through  the  New  York  Bible  Society  and  the 
American  Bible  Society.  These  associations  handled  Norwegian  books 
printed  in  Oslo.  In  1848,  the  American  Bible  Society  published  its  own 
first  edition  of  the  New  Testament  in  Norwegian;  in  1857,  tne  whole 
Bible  was  issued  in  Norwegian-Danish.4 

While  Elling  Eielsen  was  in  New  York,  he  no  doubt  held  religious 
meetings  whenever  an  opportunity  presented  itself,  but  it  is  very  interest- 
ing to  note  that  the  first  Norwegian  Lutheran  Church  service  on  record  in 
America  was  conducted  in  New  York  in  July,  1844,  by  Rev.  J.  W.  C. 
Dietrichson,  who  passed  through  the  city  on  his  way  to  Milwaukee  and 
Muskego,  Wis.  This  service  was  held  in  a  German-Lutheran  Church  with 
some  Norwegians  and  Swedes  in  attendance.  Dietrichson  was  the  first 
pastor  educated  at  the  University  at  Oslo  to  come  over  here  to  attend  to 
the  religious  needs  of  the  emigrated  Norwegians,  but  this  was  only  an 
isolated  service,  his  field  of  work  being  in  Wisconsin.  On  his  way  West, 
he  held  a  similar  service  in  Buffalo.  Dietrichson  was  a  very  earnest  and 
energetic  minister,  but  decidedly  high-church  in  his  views,  and  this  soon 
brought  him  into  conflict  with  Eielsen  who  was  extremely  low-church 
and  liked  to  antagonize  the  regularly  educated  ministers."' 


The  year  1844  is  a  very  important  one  in  the  annals  of  the  Scandina- 
vians of  New  York,  as  two  organizations  then  saw  the  light  of  day:  The 
Bethelship  Mission  and  the  Scandinavian  Society  of  1844.  They  had  of 
necessity  to  be  Scandinavian,  as  each  separate  nationality — Norwegian, 
Swedish  and  Danish — was  not  numerous  enough  to  carry  on  alone.6 
Both  did  good  work  in  their  day  and  lasted  in  the  original  form  until  the 
early  Seventies,  when  they  split  along  national  lines.  The  Norwegians 
broke  away  from  the  Scandinavian  Society  in  1871  and  started  the  Nor- 

4Norlie,  History  of  the  l^orwegian  People  in  America,  p.  222. 
•r,Dietrichson,  En  Reise. 

6The  Swedes  had,  however,  as  far  back  as  1836  organized  the  Swedish  Society — 
Den  Svenska  Societeten — which  in  1936  celebrated  its  100th  anniversary, 
Souvenir  Program,  Centennial  Celebration. 

The  Beginnings  of  Religious  Work 


wegian  Society  of  New  York,  which  still  is  in  existence.  In  the  case  of 
the  Bethelship  Mission,  the  Swedish  contingent  started  a  mission  in 
Brooklyn  and  the  Norwegians  followed  suit. 

The  Bethelship  Mission  had  its  origin  in  the  following  manner.  An 
American  by  the  name  of  D.  Terry  and  some  of  his  friends  in  a  Methodist 
Society  in  1844  bought  an  old  ship  called  Henry  Leeds,  which  was  tied 
to  Pier  11,  North  River.  The  ship  was  renamed  the  Bethelship  John 
Wesley,  but  the  last  part  of  the  name  was  discarded,  and  the  Mission  lives 
in  history  simply  as  The  Bethelship.  It  was  reconstructed  to  serve  as  a 
meeting  hall  and  was  to  be  used  as  a  Scandinavian  Mission  for  sailors 
as  well  as  for  people  ashore,  with  Rev.  Oluf  Gustaf  Hedstrom  in  charge. 
He  had  been  ordained  a  Methodist  minister  in  1837  and  preached  both 
in  English  and  Swedish.  In  S\andinaven  of  August  19,  1851,  Mr.  Hed- 
strom received  an  excellent  recommendation  and  immigrants  were  ad- 
vised to  consult  him  on  their  arrival.  It  was  said  that  he  was  reliable  and 
would  go  to  any  trouble  to  be  of  service  to  them. 

In  1848,  a  Norwegian  sailor  by  the  name  of  O.  P.  Petersen  became 
a  member  of  the  Bethelship  Mission  and  he  also  served  as  leader  from 
1859  to  1862,  when  Hedstrom  was  ill.  This  able  man  was  born  in  Fred- 
rikstad,  Norway,  in  1822.  He  went  to  sea  and  came  to  Boston  in  1843, 
where  he  met  Hedstrom.  In  1856  Petersen  went  to  Norway  and  estab- 
lished in  Sarpsborg  the  first  Methodist  congregation  in  that  country. 
Petersen  also  served  congregations  in  the  Middle  West. 

However,  the  religious  work  carried  on  aboard  the  Bethelship  show- 
ed a  tendency  to  peter  out,  and  in  the  early  Seventies  the  Norwegian 
adherents  desired  to  start  a  mission  of  their  own,  where  the  Norwegian 
language  would  be  used.  In  this  they  were  fully  justified,  as  there  were 
500  Norwegian  ships  arriving  in  New  York  to  every  10  Swedish  and 
Danish.  In  1873  Pastor  Petersen  accepted  the  call  as  minister  at  the  re- 
quest of  Captain  Hans  Osmundsen,  L.  Larsen  and  Otto  Gronro.  The 
congregation  was  organized  with  17  members,  May  3,  1874,  in  a  hall 
in  Columbia  Street,  Brooklyn,  and  the  three  men  mentioned  above,  to- 
gether with  Reinhart  Rolsen  and  Gunder  Petersen,  served  as  trustees. 
For  years  the  congregation  met  in  a  hall  on  the  corner  of  Van  Brunt 
and  President  Streets.  In  1892  it  moved  to  a  church  building  on  Hoyt 
and  Carroll  Streets,  where  it  remained  for  some  forty  years.  It  is  now 
situated  in  Bay  Ridge  and  still  retains  the  name  of  the  Bethelship  as  a 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

badge  of  honor.  The  Reverend  Mr.  Petersen  died  in  Brooklyn  in  1901. 
The  congregation  was  for  long  periods  served  by  the  Rev.  S.  E.  Simonsen 
and  the  Rev.  A.  M.  Trelstad,  and  two  of  the  outstanding  members  were 
Harry  Hansen,  a  well-known  builder,  and  Louis  Smith.  The  present 
minister  (1940)  is  the  Rev.  Yngvar  Johansen. 

When  in  1857  the  original  Bethelship  became  too  old  to  be  used  any 
longer,  another  ship,  the  Carrier  Pigeon,  was  substituted  and  served  for 
many  years  at  the  same  pier  in  the  North  River.  In  1876,  the  Bethelship 
was  transferred  to  the  Norwegian  congregation,  who  placed  it  at  the 
foot  of  Harrison  Street,  Brooklyn,  where  meetings  were  held  for  four 
years.  Age  overtook  it  in  1880,  when  it  was  disposed  of,  and  the  saga 
of  the  famous  Bethelship  came  to  an  end.7 

The  Sunset  Park  Methodist  Church  had  its  origin  in  the  Bethelship 
congregation.  The  Rev.  Andrew  Hansen  was  for  many  years  pastor  of 
this  church.  He  was  80  years  old  in  1940. 

For  many  years  the  Bethelship  congregation  maintained  a  seamen's 
branch  (lodging  house  and  shipping  office)  at  56  Sullivan  Street,  Brook- 
lyn. This  work  has  since  been  taken  over  by  the  Seamen's  Branch  of  the 
Young  Men's  Christian  Association. 

Captain  Hans  Osmundsen,  who  was  one  of  the  leaders  in  the  move- 
ment to  establish  the  Bethelship  Norwegian-Danish  congregation  ashore 
and  who  served  as  superintendent  of  the  Norwegian  Sailors'  Home  for 
nine  years  from  1900  to  1909,  was  born  in  Kristiansand  and  went  to  sea 
at  the  age  of  twelve.  He  was  one  of  the  early  Norwegian  settlers  in  New 
York,  arriving  here  in  1854,  and  continued  as  a  seafaring  man  on  board 
American  ships.  It  was  one  of  his  sad  experiences  to  have  seen  black 
slaves  by  the  hundreds  being  sold  in  the  market  place  in  New  Orleans. 
During  the  four  years  of  the  Civil  War,  he  was  Captain  of  a  transport 
ship,  carrying  provisions  to  the  Union  armies  in  Virginia  and  Washing- 
ton. Osmundsen  thereafter  carried  on  a  ship  chandlery  at  109  Broad 
Street,  New  York,  until,  in  1900,  he  became  superintendent  of  the  Nor- 
wegian Sailors'  Home.  He  was  76  years  old  when  he  resigned.  His 
daughter  Cahrene  (Mrs.  Theodore  Hanson)  now  lives  in  Seattle.8 

?Hordis\  Tidende,  December  2,  1892;  June  27,  1901;  June  27,  1912;  April  23, 
1914;  January  1,  1920;  May  1,  1924.  H.  M.  Gundersen,  Xordisk  Tidende, 
October  8,  1925. 

8The  Norwegian  Sailors'  Home,  by  A.  N.  Rygg. 

The  Beginnings  of  Religious  Work 



The  religious  element  is  very  strong  and  active  among  the  Norwe- 
gians and  the  first  things  they  usually  try  to  establish,  when  coming  into 
new  surroundings,  are  places  of  worship,  but  in  the  Forties  and  Fifties 
the  Norwegians  were  too  few  and  too  scattered  in  New  York  to  engage 
in  any  organized  endeavor  or  to  form  a  regular  congregation.  The 
meetings  on  board  the  Bethelship  from  1844  have  already  been  men- 
tioned. In  the  years  1855-56,  a  Danish  Lutheran  minister  by  the  name 
of  Paul  G.  Sinding  did  some  scattered  work  among  the  Norwegian  peo- 
ple in  New  York,9  but  the  moving  spirit  in  religious  work  in  the  early 
days  was  the  gifted  Aanon  Adaksen,  born  in  Ekersund  in  1808  and  edu- 
cated as  a  teacher.  In  i860,  he,  together  with  some  others,  sent  an  appeal 
to  the  Rev.  A.  C.  Preus,  then  President  of  the  Norwegian  Synod,  for  as- 
sistance in  forming  a  congregation.  At  this  time  the  Norwegian  popula- 
tion had  increased  from  392  in  1850  to  539  in  i860.  As  Professor  Laur. 
Larsen  was  going  on  a  trip  to  Norway,  he  was  requested  to  stop  over  in 
New  York  and  see  what  could  be  done.  On  September  8,  i860,  Dr.  Lar- 
sen preached  a  sermon  in  St.  Matthew's  Church  in  Walker  Street,  and 
this  lead  to  the  establishment  of  the  first  Norwegian  congregation  in  New 
York,  with  13  Norwegian,  5  Swedish,  and  8  Danish  members.  The  Nor- 
wegians were  N.  Borgen,  Fj0rtoft,  A.  Moe,  Hans  Kvam,  Conrad  Krogs- 
gaard,  Lars  C.  Ihlseng,  Aanon  Atlakson,  A.  Olsen,  Lage  Stephenson,  J. 
Bugge,  C.  W.  Tybring,  j0rgen  Pedersen  and  Andreas  Atlaksen.  The 
Scandinavian  Evangelical  Lutheran  Congregation  was  the  name  of  the 
new  undertaking.  In  1866,  the  name  was  changed  by  substituting  the 
word  "Norwegian"  for  "Scandinavian."  In  1870  the  congregation  re- 
ceived its  present  name:  Our  Saviour's  Norwegian  Lutheran  Church 
in  New  York. 

But  it  proved  impossible  to  hold  the  new  congregation  together,  al- 
though ministers  from  the  West,  mostly  on  the  way  to  or  from  Norway, 
such  as  H.  A.  Preus,  V.  Koren,  and  J.  A.  Ottesen,  and  also  the  student 
Kristian  Magelssen,  held  meetings  in  New  York  off  and  on.  It  was  not 
until  the  Rev.  O.  Juul  was  called  to  this  field  in  the  fall  of  1866  that 
regularly  established  church  work  was  undertaken.  As  most  of  the  Nor- 
wegians at  that  time  were  living  a  little  north  and  east  of  the  City  Hall 

9In  1858  Sinding  became  professor  of  Scandinavian  languages  and  literature  at 
New  York  University,  Why  Sons  of  T^orway,  Carl  G.  O.  Hansen. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

in  New  York,  church  quarters  were  rented  at  160  Market  Street.  In 
December,  1874,  the  Rev.  O.  Juul  told  J0rgen  Gjerdrum,  a  visiting  Nor- 
wegian business  man,  that  his  congregation  had  150  members.10 

In  his  Erindringer,  published  in  1902,  by  the  Lutheran  Publishing 
House,  Decorah,  Iowa,  Mr.  Juul  tells  interestingly  of  his  experiences  in 
New  York.  His  work  from  1867  also  included  the  immigrant  and  the 
seamen's  missions,  in  which,  from  July,  1873,  he  had  as  an  assistant, 
Peder  B.  Larsen,  a  public  school  teacher  from  Norway.  Larsen  served 
as  the  first  missionary  for  Norwegian  immigrants  at  Castle  Garden.  A 
brother,  Louis  M.  Larsen,  was  one  of  the  supporters  of  the  congregation. 
The  work  among  the  sailors  was  supported  to  some  extent  by  an  annual 
contribution  from  the  Norwegian  Seamen's  Mission  in  Bergen. 

It  was  essential,  however,  for  the  congregation  to  acquire  its  own 
church,  and  the  Rev.  Mr.  Juul  succeeded  in  collecting  $10,000  for  this 
purpose.  Among  the  contributors  were  Hans  Reese,  leather  merchant, 
$350;  Gunnerius  Gabrielsen,  florist,  $300;  and  the  Swedish-Norwegian 
Consul  Christian  B0rs,  $300.  The  church  was  situated  at  56  Monroe 
Street,  Manhattan,  and  cost  about  $20,000  when  completed  in  1872.  A 
pipe  organ  was  also  installed.  When  the  congregation  moved  over  to 
Henry  Street,  Brooklyn,  in  1885,  where  a  new  church  had  been  built, 
the  Monroe  Street  Church  was  sold  to  a  Finnish  congregation  for  $14,000. 
In  the  course  of  time,  the  Finnish  congregation  also  sold  the  property 
and  moved  away.  The  section  was  inhabited  almost  exclusively  by  people 
of  other  nationalities  and  the  old  church  fell  upon  evil  days  and  lost  its 
dignity.  It  served  for  a  long  time  as  a  cigar  factory,  but  has  now  been 
torn  down. 

In  1876,  Mr.  Juul,  who  had  done  splendid  work  during  his  ten 
years'  stay  in  New  York,  went  to  Chicago,  and  the  Rev.  Carl  S.  Everson 
was  called  as  his  successor.  Everson  was  born  in  Drammen  in  1847,  and 
came  with  his  parents  to  America  at  the  age  of  two.  He  grew  up  in  the 
Northwest,  was  graduated  from  Luther  College,  Decorah,  Iowa,  in  1871, 
and  became  a  theological  candidate  from  the  German  Seminary  in  St. 
Louis,  Mo.  Everson,  who  served  the  congregation  until  his  death  in  1920, 
that  is  to  say  for  about  45  years,  was  an  able  and  untiring  worker  and 
established  many  new  congregations  in  and  about  New  York. 

lnGjerdrum's  America  Letters,  Carlton  O.  Qualey,  Norwegian-American  His' 
torical  Association. 

The  Beginnings  of  Religious  Work 


Services  were  held  also  in  West  Rutland,  Vt.,  where  Norwegians 
worked  in  the  marble  quarries.  Later  many  of  them  moved  to  Crown 
Point  on  the  west  side  of  Lake  Champlain  and  worked  in  the  iron  mines 
in  the  Adirondacks. 

When  Our  Savior's  Church  celebrated  its  50th  Anniversary  in  1916, 
it  had  until  January  1  of  that  year  solemnized  11,450  baptisms,  2,240 
confirmations,  and  5,962  marriages,  and  performed  3,897  funeral  services. 
This  is  indeed  an  outstanding  record! 

Everson's  son-in-law,  the  Rev.  Stener  Turmo,  served  the  congrega- 
tion from  1905  to  1923,  and  was  succeeded  by  the  present  minister,  the 
Rev.  Oscar  Bakke.  The  Congregation  is  now  at  Fourth  Avenue  and  80th 
Street,  Bay  Ridge,  Brooklyn.11  Mr.  Turmo  is  serving  a  congregation  in 
Stoughton,  Wisconsin. 

As  early  as  1868  a  congregation  (mostly  Danish)  was  organized  in 
Perth  Amboy.  In  1874,  a  congregation  was  organized  in  Portland,  Me.; 
in  1890,  one  in  Hoboken,  N.  J.;  in  1891,  one  in  Jersey  City.  Congrega- 
tions also  grew  up  in  Norge,  Va.;  Union  Hill,  N.  J.;  Staten  Island,  N.  Y.; 
the  Bronx,  and  Manhattan,  New  York  City,  Long  Island,  Boston,  Provi- 
dence, Troy,  Philadelphia,  Elizabeth,  Berlin,  N.  H.,  and  Greenpoint,  L.  I., 
all  Lutheran.  There  were  likewise  some  scattered  Methodist  and  Free 
Churches  and  in  Brooklyn  one  Baptist  congregation. 

The  early  emigration  to  Portland,  Maine,  may,  perhaps  be  explained 
by  the  circumstance  that  this  city  was  the  winter  port  for  the  ships  of 
the  Allan  Line,  which,  during  the  other  seasons,  used  Montreal  and 
Quebec  as  ports.  j0rgen  Gjerdrum,  who  visited  Portland  in  1875,  found 
a  number  of  Norwegians,  Swedes  and  Danes  there.  The  first  Norwegian 
clergyman  in  Portland  was  the  Rev.  N.  J.  Ellestad.  Of  the  150  members 
of  the  congregation  80  were  Norwegians. 

Hans  Reese,  who  has  been  mentioned  before  in  connection  with  Our 
Savior's  Church,  had  a  large  leather  business  in  the  locality  called  the 
Swamp  near  Broadway  and  Ann  Street,  where  the  tanneries  were  situ- 
ated at  the  time. 

Captain  A.  Th.  Nielsen  was  born  in  1835  in  Denmark,  but  his 
parents  were  Norwegians,  and  he  was  brought  up  near  Arendal.  He  was 
for  many  years  treasurer  of  Our  Savior's  Church  and  a  member  of  the 

"Most  of  the  information  concerning  Our  Savior's  Church  has  been  taken  from 
the  history  of  the  congregation  published  at  the  60th  Anniversary  in  1926. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

importing  house,  Nielsen  and  Dahler.  He  came  to  New  York  in  1877. 

Mrs.  John  Furst,  who  died  in  Brooklyn  in  1937,  was  one  of  the 
oldest  and  most  active  members  of  Our  Savior's  Church.  She  came  to  the 
church  for  the  first  time  in  1868  and  was  confirmed  there  in  1874.  Mrs. 
B.  Wang,  who  came  to  New  York  from  Oslo  in  1882,  has  been  connected 
with  this  church  ever  since. 

Emil  Ericksen  was  born  in  Svelvik,  near  Drammen,  and  emigrated 
in  1882  to  New  York,  where  he  was  in  business  as  a  tailor  throughout  a 
long  life.  He  became  a  member  of  Our  Savior's  Church  on  his  arrival 
and  for  more  than  fifty  years  he  served  as  secretary  of  the  congregation 
and  as  a  teacher  in  the  Sunday  School.  Ericksen  was  president  of  the 
Norwegian  Hospital  for  nine  years,  from  1909,  and  became  a  Knight  of 
St.  Olav  in  1923. 



TODAY  There  Are  Very  Few  who  know  anything  about  Ole  Peder 
Hansen  Balling  (or  simply  Hans  Balling)  or  who  have  ever  heard  of 
him.  Yet  he  had  a  unique  and  colorful  career  and  was  for  many  years  one 
of  the  outstanding  members  of  the  Norwegian  Colony  in  New  York.  He 
was  Captain  of  the  New  York  Scandinavian  Company  which  took  part 
in  the  Civil  War.  Balling  advanced  to  the  rank  of  Major  and  Lieutenant 
Colonel,  and  when  he  was  wounded  at  Fredericksburg  and  incapacitated 
as  a  soldier,  he  returned  to  his  profession  as  portrait  painter.  He  painted 
portraits  of  Lincoln,  Grant,  and  a  large  number  of  Union  Generals,  be- 
sides many  people  in  private  life.  The  Norwegian  or  Scandinavian  group 
in  New  York  has  not  had  such  an  abundance  of  really  prominent  men 
in  its  midst  that  it  can  afford  to  let  any  one  of  them  pass  into  oblivion. 

This  remarkable  man  has  occasionally  been  taken  for  a  Dane  for  a 
reason  which  will  appear  presently;  but  the  fact  is  that  he  was  born  April 
23,  1823,  in  0vre  Voldgate,  Oslo,  as  the  son  of  a  poor  shoemaker.  He 
served  an  apprenticeship  as  a  house  painter,  but  had  artistic  aspirations 
and  therefore  went  to  Berlin  and  afterwards  to  Copenhagen  to  study. 
While  there  the  Danish-German  War  of  1848  broke  out  and  Balling  vol- 
unteered for  military  service  and  was  appointed  a  first  lieutenant.  After 
the  war  he  lived  a  few  years  as  an  artist  in  Copenhagen.  He  visited  Paris 
in  1854  and  in  1856  emigrated  to  New  York,  where  he  became  a  success- 
ful portrait  painter. 

When  the  Civil  War  broke  out  in  1861,  Balling  again  volunteered 
for  military  service  and  was,  on  account  of  his  previous  experience,  elect- 
ed captain  of  a  Scandinavian  volunteer  company  (there  were,  in  fact,  two 
companies,  I  and  K)  which  he  and  C.  T.  Christensen  (Dane)  had  form- 
ed and  which  consisted  of  eighty  men.  Christensen,  whom  Balling  credits 
with  the  honor  of  having  first  advanced  the  idea  of  such  a  company,  be- 
came first  lieutenant  and  Alfred  Fredberg  (Swede)  was  commissioned 



Norwegians  in  New  York 

second  lieutenant.  The  Scandinavians  of  New  York  were  strongly  in 
favor  of  President  Lincoln  and  against  slavery.  They  volunteered  so  early 
that  their  group  became  Company  I,  ist  Regiment,  New  York  Volunteer 
Infantry.  In  Reminiscenses  of  a  Pioneer  Editor,  published  by  the  Norwe- 
gian-American Historical  Association  in  Studies  and  Records,  vol.  I,  Carl 
Fredrik  Solberg,  editor  of  Emigranten,  writes  that  the  recruiting  to  the 
Fifteenth  Wisconsin  Volunteer  Regiment  was  stimulated  into  activity  by 
the  news  that  a  Scandinavian  company  had  already  been  sent  to  the  front 
from  New  York. 

Mr.  Solberg  writes  further:  "While  Heg  was  busy  organizing  the 
Fifteenth  Wisconsin,  it  occured  to  me,  and  to  others,  that  we  ought  to 
have  an  experienced  military  officer  in  the  regiment  in  case  anything 
should  happen  to  Colonel  Heg.  I  knew  Captain  Balling  in  New  York 
and  opened  a  correspondence  with  him  relative  to  his  joining  the  Fif- 
teenth Wisconsin.  Everything  seemed  to  be  working  out  all  right  and 
he  resigned  his  commission  and  went  West.  Then  for  some  reason  there 
was  objection  to  his  appointment.  I  felt  badly  about  it  since  he  had  lost 
his  former  position.1  Soon  afterwards,  he  was  made  Lieutenant  Colonel 
and  chief  of  a  New  York  Regiment,  and  so  he  fared  better  than  he  would 
had  he  come  to  Wisconsin." 

The  regiment,  including  the  Scandinavian  Company,  was  command- 
ed first  by  Colonel  William  H.  Allen,  later  by  Colonel  J.  Fred  Pierson. 
It  was  signed  on  for  two  years  and  was  honorably  discharged  and  mus- 
tered out  on  May  25,  1863,  at  New  York  City,  but  many  of  the  men,  no 
doubt,  signed  on  anew.  It  had  lost  30  officers  and  no  men. 

The  regiment  consisted  of  900  men  and  took  part  in  the  following 
engagements:  Big  Bethel,  Va.,  June  10,  1 861 ;  Hampton  Roads,  Va., 
March  8,  1862;  Fair  Oaks,  Va.,  June  20,  1862;  Fair  Oaks,  Va.,  June  23, 
1862;  Seven  Days'  Battles,  Va.,  June  25  -  July  2,  1862;  Oak  Grove,  Va., 
June  25,  1862;  Fair  Oaks,  Va.,  June  26-29,  1862;  Glendale,  June  30, 
1862;  Malvern  Hill,  July  1,  1862;  Harrison's  Landing,  Va.,  July  3,  1862; 
General  Pope's  Campaign,  Va.,  August  26 -September  2,  1862;  Centre- 
ville,  Va.,  August  28,  1862;  Groveton,  Va.,  August  29,  1862;  Bull 
Run,  Va.,  August  30,  1862;  Chantilly,  Va.,  September  1,  1862;  Fred- 
ericksburg, Va.,  December  11  -  15,  1862;  Chancellorsville,  Va.,  May  1  -  3, 

1This  is  an  error  of  fact.   Balling  had  not  resigned,  nor  lost  his  position  as 

The  Civil  War 


.  It  would  seem  quite  reasonable  to  assume  that  the  "Three  Civil  War 
Letters  from  1862,"  which  appeared  in  Volume  IV  of  Studies  and 
Records?  were  written  by  a  member  of  the  Scandinavian  Company  from 
New  York.  These  letters  were  discovered  in  the  files  of  the  Morgen- 
bladet,  Oslo,  under  date  of  May  27,  1862,  and  July  24,  1862,  respectively, 
by  Professor  Theodore  C.  Blegen.  They  were  translated  and  edited  by 
Professor  Brynjolf  J.  Hovde.  The  first  two  letters  are  devoted  mainly  to 
a  description  of  the  historic  battle  between  the  Monitor  and  the  Merrimac 
on  March  8  and  9,  1862,  the  writer  having  been  an  eyewitness  from  land. 
The  third  letter  describes  certain  aspects  of  the  Peninsular  Campaign  in 
1862  under  General  McClellan. 

The  identity  of  the  writer  remains  a  mystery.  The  letters  were  un- 
signed in  Morgenbladet.  The  only  tangible  clue  that  might  perhaps  lead 
to  his  identification  is  his  statement  towards  the  close  of  the  first  letter 
to  the  effect  that  his  was  "the  First  Regiment";  but  an  attempt  to  dis- 
cover which  First  Regiment  he  belonged  to  has  been  unsuccessful,  says 
Professor  Hovde.  There  were  no  less  than  seven  First  Regiments  en- 
gaged in  the  battle  of  Fair  Oaks  or  Seven  Pines. 

Now,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  the  Scandinavian  Company,  or  Company  I, 
belonged  to  the  First  Regiment,  New  York  Volunteer  Infantry.  This 
Regiment  fought  on  the  Peninsula  all  the  way  from  Big  Bethel,  June  10, 
1861,  to  Malvern  Hill,  July  1,  1862,  and  it  was  at  Hampton  Roads  on 
March  8,  and  in  position  to  view  the  famous  sea  fight.  The  writer  in- 
dicates himself  that  he  was  from  New  York,  so  we  are  most  likely  on 
the  right  track  in  assuming  that  he  was  a  member  of  the  Scandinavian 

The  three  commissioned  officers  in  the  Scandinavian  Company  have 
fine  records  of  military  service.  Captain  Balling,  age  35  years,  was  pro- 
moted to  Major  and  on  September  11,  1862,  to  Lieutenant  Colonel  of  the 
145th  New  York  Volunteer  Infantry.  He  was,  however,  wounded  in  the 
right  shoulder  at  the  bloody  battle  of  Fredericksburg.  A  battalion  of 
Irishmen  mutinied  during  a  dangerous  reconnaissance,  and  Balling  was 
hit  by  a  bullet,  so  that  he  became  an  invalid  and  had  to  ask  for  discharge, 
which  was  granted  January  24,  1863. 3 

2Norwegian- American  Historical  Association. 
sHordis\  Tidende,  June  7,  1923. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Christian  T.  Christiansen,  the  Dane,  age  29  years,  rose  from  First 
Lieutenant  to  Captain,  Major,  and  aide-de-camp.  He  was  at  one  time 
president  of  the  Scandinavian  Society,  New  York,  and  in  later  life  he  be- 
came a  prominent  man  in  the  city.  He  had  the  title  of  Brigadier  General 
in  the  National  Guard  of  New  York,  and  served  for  ten  years  as  president 
of  the  Brooklyn  Trust  Company.4 

Alfred  Fredberg,  the  Swede,  age  30  years,  rose  from  Second  to  First 
Lieutenant  and  finally  to  Captain.5 

The  only  two  Norwegian  members  of  the  Scandinavian  Companies 
from  New  York  in  the  Civil  War  of  whom  there  are  any  known  records, 
except  the  name,  are  Anders  Dahl  and  John  Widness,  the  latter  born  in 
Skibtvedt,  Smaalenene,  (now  0stfold),  Norway,  in  1831.  He  came  to 
America  in  i860,  became  a  member  of  the  Scandinavian  Company,  and 
served  as  a  non-commissioned  officer  to  the  end  of  the  War  without  being 
wounded.  His  first  battle  was  at  Big  Bethel,  Va.  During  the  War, 
Widness  had  saved  up  $1,700,  with  which  he  started  a  crockery  and  glass- 
ware business  at  99  Grand  Street,  Williamsburg,  Brooklyn.  He  died  in 
July,  1902,  and  the  business  is  now  carried  on  by  his  son,  Edward  J. 
Widness.6  Dahl  was  from  Hamar.  He  established  himself  as  a  jeweler 
in  Williamsburg  after  the  war. 

The  muster  roll  of  Company  I,  the  Scandinavian  Company,  is  to  be 
found  in  the  New  York  Historical  Society.  Company  K  had  also  quite 
a  few  Scandinavians,  but  in  both  Companies  there  was  a  large  mixture 
of  other  nationalities.  The  Companies  were  mustered  in  on  April  24, 
1 861,  at  Staten  Island.  A  fairly  complete  list  of  the  Scandinavians  in 
I  and  K  follows: 


The  three  highest  ranging  officers  have  already  been  mentioned 

Henry  Gronstrom,  2nd  Lieut.         Anders  Hansen,  Sgt. 

Magnus  Johnson,  1st  Sgt.  Anders  Erlandsen,  Sgt.  (only  22 

Edward  Abben,  Sgt.  years  of  age) 

Rational  Cyclopedia  of  America  Biography,  Vol.  2,  1899. 

5Most  of  the  information  concerning  the  Scandinavian  Company  and  its  officers 

has  been  obtained  from  the  office  of  the  Adjutant  General,  Albany,  N.  Y. 
«Hordis\  Tidende.  October  12,  1894;  July  10,  1902. 

The  Civil  War 


Nicolai  Hansen  Goeg,  Cpl. 
Nicholas  Erlandsen,  Cpl. 
Carl  Anders  Goeg,  Cpl. 
Christian  F.  Gorgrist,  Cpl. 
Edward  Abrahamson,  Musician 
John  Fred.  Barforth,  Musician 
Thomas  N.  Berger 
Louis  Buck 
Charles  Christiansen 
Hans  C.  Gregersen 
Viggo  Holm 
Jens  Iversen 
William  j0rgensen 

Henrick  T.  Matthiescn 
Anton  Martinsen 
James  Nielsen 
Niclas  Norberg 
Anders  Pederson 
Oluff  Olsen 
Frands  Petersen 
Henry  Roll 
John  H.  Roe 
John  C.  Svenningsen 
John  Thompson 
Romsing  Tonder 
Axel  Ulrichson 


Werner  W.  Bjerg 
Nicholas  J.  Gronbeck 
Anders  Oswald  Alsted 
Anders  Andersen 
John  Anderson 
Jacob  ChristofTerson 
Simon  Christensen 
Anders  Dahl 
Charles  Evert 

Konrad  Frandsen 

Henry  Gronstrom 

Martin  Hansen 

Jens  Iversen 

Svend  Magnus  Jansen 

Jacob  Matsen 

Frederik  Stafersen 

Charles  Saaby 

Johan  Widness  (30  years) 

There  were  64  men  in  Company  I  and  70  in  Company  K.  As  Presi- 
dent Lincoln  issued  the  call  for  75,000  volunteers  on  April  15,  1861,  the 
Scandinavian  companies  volunteered  for  military  service  without  delay. 

When  Balling  was  incapacitated  and  could  no  longer  wield  his 
sword,  he  went  back  to  his  paints  and  brushes.  During  the  next  few 
years  he  painted  a  number  of  pictures,  chiefly  of  Union  Generals,  which 
attracted  wide  attention.  He  also  made  a  picture  of  President  Lincoln 
at  the  White  House.  The  President,  who  had  come  into  possession  of  a 
small  German  paper  in  Springfield,  111.,  and  who  regarded  Balling  as  a 
German,  wanted  to  show  his  prowess  in  the  German  language,  and  so 
he  said  one  day:  "Geben  Sie  mir  ein  Bier."  "That  was  not  quite  right, 
Mr.  President,"  answered  Balling.  "How  so?"  "Since  we  are  two  you 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

should  have  said:  Geben  Sie  uns  zwei  Biere."  At  which  the  President 
was  much  amused. 

On  one  occasion  President  Lincoln  remarked:  "I  know  the  Norwe- 
gians from  Illinois.  Most  of  them  have  done  well,  and  no  immigrants 
have  served  America  better  than  they  have."7 

It  was  an  introduction  from  Lincoln  that  made  Grant  willing  to 
pose,  when  Balling  was  his  guest  at  City  Point,  outside  of  Petersburg. 
The  large  and  imposing  picture  "The  Heroes  of  the  Republic,"  also 
called  "Grant  and  His  Generals"  (26  on  horseback)  now  hangs  at  the 
entrance  to  the  Arts  and  Industries  Building,  an  annex  to  Smithsonian 
Institution,  Washington,  D.  C.  (It  is  lent  by  Mrs.  H.  Neaton  Blue). 
Among  Balling's  other  notable  pictures  are  General  Sedgwick,  at  West 
Point;  Admiral  Farragut,  at  the  Annapolis  Naval  Academy;  General 
George  H.  Thomas  (the  Rock  of  Chicamauga),  and  General  Reynolds 
(who  died  at  Gettysburg),  at  the  Union  League  Club,  Philadelphia.  A 
portrait  of  General  William  Sherman  dates  from  1864. 

Another  large  painting,  General  Ulysses  S.  Grant,  "In  the  Trenches 
Before  Vicksburg",  was  owned  in  1899  by  Herman  Linde,  art  publisher, 
31  Nassau  Street,  New  York,  who  wanted  to  sell  it  and  considered  it 
worth  $50,000.  Linde  had  made  a  limited  number  of  etchings  of  this 
painting,  which  sold  at  stiff  prices.  He  also  wrote  a  pamphlet  concerning 
Balling  which  is  preserved  at  the  New  York  Public  Library. 

In  this  pamphlet  is  found  the  following  letter  from  Grant's  widow, 
Julia  D.  Grant,  addressed  to  Mr.  Linde: 

"I  have  with  great  pleasure  seen  the  fine  portrait  of  General 
Grant,  In  the  Trenches  Before  Vicksburg,  painted  by  Balling, 
of  which  picture  you  are  the  possessor,  showing  the  General  life 
size,  standing  in  the  trenches,  cigar  in  hand  and  his  field  glasses 
lying  near  on  the  map.  The  General  looks  care-worn  and  weary, 
and  the  picture,  I  think,  portrays  him  as  he  looked  at  the  time. 
The  pose  is  good.  The  earnest  look  he  wears  reminds  most  forci- 
bly of  that  sad  summer. 

Very  sincerely, 

Julia  D.  Grant." 

7Hordis\  Tidende.  June  7,  1923. 

The  Civil  War 


In  this  same  pamphlet  there  is  also  a  letter  from  Balling,  dated  Kris- 
tiania,  April  19,  1898,  in  which  he  writes  that  he  is  at  work  on  a 
painting  for  an  altar  in  the  church  in  which  Private  John  Widness  of 
Brooklyn,  once  a  volunteer  in  Company  I,8  1st  Regiment,  New  York 
Volunteers,  was  baptized.  (See  earlier  in  this  chapter.)  Widness  is,  he 
says,  proud  of  having  his  former  Colonel  work  for  him  in  his  old 
church,  Skibtvedt  per  Spydeberg  station,  0stfold  province. 

After  the  Civil  War,  Balling  lived  for  fifteen  years  in  Brooklyn, 
where  his  daughters  and  son  were  born.  It  was  during  this  period  that 
he  painted  the  first  two  presidents  of  the  Norwegian  Society  of  New 
York:  Attorney  James  Denoon  Reymert  and  Florist  Gunnerius  Gabriel- 
sen.  The  altar  painting,  which  now  hangs  in  the  chapel  of  the  Zion 
Norwegian  -  Lutheran  Church  in  Brooklyn,  is  also  from  his  hand.  It 
was  originally  presented  to  Our  Savior's  Church  in  Henry  Street.  When 
Captain  Magnus  Andersen  crossed  the  Atlantic  in  his  Viking  ship,  the 
only  cargo  he  had  on  board  was  Balling's  large  painting,  "Leif  Goes 
Ashore  in  Vinland."  What  has  become  of  this  picture  is  not  known. 

In  his  old  age  Balling  was  a  restless  man.  From  1880  to  about  1890 
he  lived  in  Mexico  with  one  of  his  daughters.  In  the  early  Nineties  he 
served  as  Mexican  Consul  in  Oslo,  but  in  1895  he  returned  to  Brooklyn, 
as  he  could  not  at  the  time  make  himself  at  home  in  Norway.  However, 
he  soon  returned  to  Norway  for  good. 

In  Norway  Balling  published  a  pamphlet  entitled  "Memories  From 
My  Best  Period  in  America,"  and  the  historian,  O.  A.  0verland  has  writ- 
ten a  sketch  of  him.9  In  Norway  Balling  has  also  painted  the  portraits  of 
four  Kings  of  the  Bernadotte  family,  and  thirty  portraits  of  officers  in 
the  Norwegian  Navy.  They  are  on  the  walls  of  the  chief  Naval  Station 
at  Horten,  Norway. 

It  would,  of  course,  be  highly  interesting  if  by  any  means  it  could 
be  determined  how  many  Norwegians  from  New  York  took  part  in  the 
Civil  War  as  soldiers  or  sailors,  but  it  is  altogether  too  late  to  attempt  a 
check-up  now.  The  indications  are,  however,  that  the  Norwegians  vol- 

8Widness  was  really  a  member  of  Company  K,  but  the  two  companies,  I  and  K, 
may  have  been  combined,  as  each  contained  many  Scandinavians. 

9h[ordis\  Tidende,  March  2,  1894;  January  4,  18,  April  12,  June  14,  December 
20,  27,  1895;  February  14,  1896;  August  17,  1899;  February  28,  1901;  No- 
vember 21,  1912. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

unteered  freely  for  service  both  in  the  Army  and  the  Navy,  and  ac- 
quitted themselves  well. 

The  Norwegian  who  rose  highest  in  the  service  of  the  Navy  is 
Rear  Admiral  Peter  C.  Asserson.  He  was  born  at  Midbr0d  near  Eker- 
sund  in  1839,  the  youngest  of  twelve  children.  He  left  Norway  when 
17  years  old  as  cabin  boy  on  a  bark  from  Stavanger  and  he  came  to  the 
United  States  in  1859  at  the  age  of  20.  He  entered  the  Navy  as  a  Master's 
Mate,  May  27,  1862,  took  part  in  many  battles  as  a  commander  of  gun- 
boats, and  studied  the  engineering  science,  so  that  already  in  Novem- 
ber of  the  same  year  he  was  appointed  engineer.  He  became  a  lieutenant 
and  a  captain,  and  finally  a  rear  admiral.  Asserson  was  for  many  years 
chief  engineer  at  the  Navy  Yards  at  Brooklyn  and  Norfolk  and  his  spe- 
ciality was  the  building  of  drydocks.  He  was  considered  one  of  the 
ablest  chiefs  of  department  which  the  Brooklyn  Navy  Yard  ever  had,  and 
he  helped  many  a  Norwegian  to  good  employment.  Admiral  Asserson 
is  the  founder  of  a  military  family,  as  practically  all  his  descendants  be- 
came officers  in  the  American  Army  or  Navy. 

Admiral  Asserson  retired  in  1891  and  died  in  1906.  He  was  interred 
at  the  Naval  Academy  in  Annapolis.10  One  of  his  sons,  Col.  Henry  R. 
Asserson,  served  during  the  World  War  as  a  special  engineer  on  General 
Pershing's  staff.  Another  son,  William  Christian  Asserson,  born  in  Nor- 
folk, Va.,  in  1875,  was  decorated  with  the  Navy  Cross  and  commanded 
in  1927-1929  the  U.S.S.  Idaho,  the  largest  battleship  in  the  U.  S.  Navy. 
A  son-in-law,  Colonel  W.  F.  Spicer  of  the  Marine  Corps,  was  on  his 
mother's  side  descended  from  the  Kierulf  family  in  Kristiansand. 

A  daughter  of  Admiral  Asserson  has  for  many  years  been  a  promi- 
nent specialist  in  public  health  service,  particularly  child  welfare.  As  a 
doctor  of  medicine  she  has  been  connected  with  Columbia  University 
and,  after  the  World  War,  she  spent  several  years  in  France,  working 
for  the  prevention  of  tuberculosis  in  children.11 

Among  the  numerous  Norwegian  sailors  who  served  in  the  Ameri- 
can Navy  during  the  Civil  War  was  Johannes  Castberg  Holmboe  Was- 
muth  who,  according  to  reports,  must  have  been  a  regular  Viking.  He 

10Premier  Lieutenant  Rolf  Scheen  in  gorges  Sjoforsvar. 

"Rygg,  Hors\e  Kvinder  i  Hew  Yor\,  Hordmanns  Forbundet,  January,  1938. 

The  Civil  War 


was  born  in  1842  near  Troms0,  Norway,  and  came  to  America  in  1859, 
where  he  continued  as  a  sailor  on  board  American  ships.  According  to 
a  statement  from  the  Navy  Department,  dated  November  30,  1939,  John 

C.  H.  Wasmuth  served  in  the  Navy  as  James  Casey.  He  enlisted  on 
July  9,  1864,  at  New  York  for  three  years  as  seaman  and  served  on  the 
North  Carolina,  Brandywine,  Saugus  and  at  the  Navy  Yard,  Washington, 

D.  C,  and  was  discharged  on  July  31,  1865,  under  the  provisions  of  the 
Act  of  Congress  approved  August  14,  1888.  Wasmuth  did  not  serve  on 
board  the  Monitor  in  the  battle  with  the  Merrimac,  which  took  place  on 
March  9,  1862,  but  the  Saugus  mentioned  above  was  a  vessel  of  the  Moni- 
tor type.  The  medal  which  was  issued  to  John  C.  H.  Wasmuth  was  one 
of  the  authorized  awards  for  Civil  War  service  between  April  15,  1861, 
and  April  9,  1865.12 

Wasmuth  was  severely  wounded  at  Fort  Fisher,  near  Cape  Fear, 
North  Carolina,  in  January,  1865.  A  big  gun  exploded  and  caused  Was- 
muth to  fall  on  his  head  down  into  the  engine  room.  He  was  unconscious 
for  eleven  days.  After  the  War,  he  went  back  to  Norway,  where  he 
passed  his  examinations  as  a  navigator  and  then  he  returned  to  Brooklyn. 
In  his  old  age,  he  stayed  here  with  his  son  George.  He  died  in  1913. 
Sofus  Kjeldsen,  a  business  man  in  Bay  Ridge,  is  a  relative  of  Wasmuth. 

The  medal  referred  to  carries  on  the  one  side  the  inscription  "United 
States  Navy"  and  "For  Service",  on  the  other  side  "The  Civil  War"  and 
a  picture  of  the  battle  between  the  Monitor  and  the  Merrimac.  Below, 
1861  - 1865.13 

During  the  war,  Wasmuth  was  on  board  a  ship  going  from  Virginia 
to  North  Carolina.  A  hurricane  came  up  and  it  looked  as  if  the  ship 
would  founder.  Skillful  maneuvering,  however,  brought  the  ship  safely 
into  port  and  the  crew  was  commended  for  its  good  work. 

It  has  been  assumed  that  the  U.  S.  Destroyer  Wasmuth  had  been 
named  after  the  subject  of  this  sketch,  but  such  is  not  the  case.  The 
warship  is  named  in  honor  of  Henry  Wasmuth,  U.  S.  Marine  Corps, 
who  was  born  in  Germany,  became  a  naturalized  citizen  of  the  United 
States  and  enlisted  in  the  Marine  Corps,  June  11,  1861.  He  saved  the 
life  of  "Fighting  Bob"  Evans  at  the  attack  on  Fort  Fisher,  January  13  - 15, 

12Letters  from  Navy  Department  in  author's  possession. 
13yiordis\  Tidende,  December  22,  1910.  Sofus  Kjeldsen. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

1865,  at  risk  of  his  own  life.  He  was  killed  during  the  engagement.14 

There  was  no  reason  whatever  why  Wasmuth  should  have  changed 
his  name  to  James  Casey.  It  was  some  sort  of  an  inferiority  complex  that 
operated;  many  sailors,  and  others,  too,  for  that  matter,  in  those  days 
believed  that  it  sounded  so  much  better  if  they  took  unto  themselves  a 
familiar  Irish  name. 

Captain  Christian  Lund  of  the  well-known  Bull  and  Lund  families 
in  Norway  and  father  of  the  opera  singer,  Charlotte  Lund,  was  born  in 
Farsund  in  1839,  and  grew  up  in  Oslo.  He  went  to  sea  in  1858  on  the 
bark  Deodota,  and  he  did  not  see  Norway  again  until  in  191 1  he  revisited 
the  country  with  his  daughter.  Lund  came  with  a  vessel  to  New  Orleans, 
where  he  was  pressed  into  the  Confederate  service.  He  saw  his  chance 
to  escape  and  he  entered  the  Union  Navy.  He  is  the  only  Norwegian 
sailor  on  record  who  saw  service  with  Flag  Officer  Foote  and  General 
Grant  up  the  Tennessee  and  Cumberland  Rivers,  when  the  Confederate 
strongholds,  Fort  Henry  and  Fort  Donelson,  surrendered  to  the  Union 
Army.  Lund  was  also  with  Admiral  Porter  at  Vicksburg.  Later  he 
served  as  a  soldier  at  Petersburg,  where  he  lost  a  finger.  He  became  a 
lieutenant  and  after  the  War  was  promoted  to  the  rank  of  captain.  He 
was  for  many  years  sailing  master  on  the  Great  Lakes,  living  at  Oswego, 
New  York.  Lund  spent  his  last  years  with  his  daughter  in  New  York 

Oliver  Christian  Olsen,  born  in  Stavanger,  Norway,  in  1843,  was 
probably  the  first  policeman  of  Norwegian  birth  in  New  York.  He  came 
from  Norway  as  a  small  boy,  he  saw  service  in  the  Civil  War,  and  when 
he  died  in  1896  he  had  been  on  the  police  force  for  twenty-two  years.16 

Johannes  Vathne,  seaman,  served  in  the  Civil  War,  first  as  a  soldier, 
later  as  a  seaman  on  board  the  frigate  Saratoga.  He  had  two  medals, 
one  as  a  soldier  and  one  as  a  seaman.  He  returned  to  Norway,  and  in 
Stavanger  he  drew  a  pension  from  the  U.  S.  A.  for  the  rest  of  his  life.17 

"Butch"  Thompson  was  a  well-known  man  in  sporting  circles  in 
New  York  in  the  Eighties  and  Nineties.  His  real  name  was  H.  Thomas- 

14Letter  from  the  Navy  Department. 

15Hordis\  Tidende  after  Minneapolis  Tvdende,  April  10,  1919;  March  31,  1921. 
™Hordis\  Tidende,  April  10,  1896. 
^Xordisk  Tidende,  April  26,  1917. 

The  Civil  War 


sen  and  he  was  born  in  Lyse  near  Stavanger  in  1841.  He  came  to  New 
York  as  a  sailor  in  1862,  served  in  the  Civil  War  and  subsequently 
became  a  butcher,  which  explains  the  name  "Butch".  Otherwise  his 
regular  name  was  Charles  H.  Thompson.  He  was  for  many  years  owner 
of  a  large  saloon,  "The  White  Elephant,"  at  1243  Broadway,  corner  31st 
Street,  New  York,  and  he  became  a  wealthy  man  through  his  operations 
as  a  bookmaker  at  the  race  tracks.18 

Captain  Erik  M.  Gabrielsen,  who  died  in  August,  1901,  in  Edgars- 
town,  Mass.,  served  in  the  Civil  War  and  thereafter  in  the  Coast  Guard, 
where  in  1876  he  was  made  a  Captain.  Gabrielsen  was  in  command  of 
the  Coast  Guard  Cutter  Dexter  and  he  and  his  crew  saved  many  human 

Johannes  J.  Raffenborg  from  H0land  served  during  the  Civil  War 
as  third  officer  on  board  the  battleship  Tulip.  He  was  killed  in  battle  on 
the  Potomac  River,  November  6,  1864.20 

Henry  Bordewick  from  Lofoten  served  in  the  United  States  Navy 
during  the  Civil  War.  Later  he  was  American  Consul  in  Oslo.21 

William  Mathiesen,  born  at  Semb  near  T0nsberg  in  1847,  came  to 
America  in  1866  and  served  three  years  in  the  Navy.  Later  he  owned 
a  grocery  store  and  a  yard  for  the  building  of  boats  and  barges.  In  Brook- 
lyn Mathiesen  married  Hanna  Torkildsen  from  Kristiansand. 


The  American  Rosenkrans  family  are  descendants  of  Herman  Hend- 
ricksen  of  Bergen.  Best  known  among  these  is  General  William  Stark 
Rosecrans,  Commander  of  the  Army  of  the  Cumberland  in  the  Civil 
War.  Colonel  Hans  Heg  and  the  Norwegian  Regiment  (15th  Wiscon- 
sin) served  under  him  at  Chicamauga,  where  Heg  was  mortally  wound- 
ed. General  Rosecrans  was  born  in  Ohio  in  1819.  After  the  Civil  War, 
he  was  Minister  to  Mexico,  Congressman  from  California  and  Register 
of  the  Treasury,  under  President  Cleveland.  He  became  a  Catholic,  and 
his  brother,  Sylvester  Horton  Rosecrans,  was  a  prominent  bishop  in  the 
Roman  Catholic  faith.   Their  progenitor,  Herman  Hendricksen,  was 

™Xordis\  Tidende,  January  22,  1892;  September  27,  1895. 
19Hordis\  Tidende,  September  5,  1901. 
20Ulvestad,  J^ordmmndene  i  Ameri\a. 
zlHordis\  Tidende,  October  16,  1902. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

married  to  Magdalena  Dircks  in  New  York  in  1657  (it  is  not  known 
when  he  arrived  here).  Two  years  later,  he  moved  to  Esopus,  where  he 
was  taken  prisoner  by  the  Indians,  but  managed  to  escape.  He  died  in 
Rochester,  New  York,  in  1697. 

It  is  not  known  how  he  acquired  the  name  Rosenkrans,  but  Prof. 
John  O.  Evjen  in  Scandinavian  Immigrants  in  New  Yorf^  in  the  Seven- 
teenth Century,  expresses  the  opinion  that  he  in  all  probability  was 
a  plain-born  Norwegian,  who  simply  took  the  name,  because  he  had 
worked  for  a  Rosenkrans,  or  because  he  liked  the  name.  The  name  was 
a  familiar  one  in  Norway,  and  particularly  in  Bergen,  where  the  Rosen- 
krantz  Tower  is  still  standing.  It  is  often  called  the  Valkendorf  Tower 
and  served  as  a  part  of  the  fortifications  of  Bergen.  The  erection  was 
commenced  in  the  13th  Century  and  completed  by  Erik  Rosenkrantz  in 
1565.  The  Rosenkrantz  family  was  old  and  well-known  both  in  Den- 
mark and  Norway.  It  belonged  to  the  nobility  and  produced,  especially 
from  the  15th  to  the  18th  century,  a  number  of  outstanding  men.22  In 
Oslo  there  is  a  Rosenkranz  Street. 

22Aschehoug  and  Gyldendals  Konversationsleksikon. 



THE  Famous  Norwegian  violinist,  Ole  Bull,  came  to  America  for  the 
first  time  in  the  fall  of  1843.  During  his  stay  of  two  years,  he  toured 
large  sections  of  the  country  and  became  immensely  popular  with  the 
American  public.  He  also  found  time  to  visit  Havana,  Cuba,  and  Quebec 
and  Montreal,  Canada.  Three  of  his  compositions,  "Niagara,"  in  which 
he  endeavors  to  render  his  impression  of  the  mighty  waterfall;  "The  Soli- 
tude of  the  Praries,"  and  the  "Psalm  of  David",  were  written  at  this  time. 
When  Bull  left  this  country  at  the  end  of  1845  and  returned  to  his  family 
in  Paris,  he  had  quite  a  tidy  sum  of  money  with  him.  Later  he  went  to 
Norway  and  tried  to  establish  a  Theatre  with  a  Norwegian  orchestra  in 
Bergen,  an  undertaking  which  caused  him  a  great  deal  of  trouble  and 
loss  of  time  and  money.1 

In  1852  Ole  Bull  was  back  again  in  America.  He  had  had  many 
troubles  and  tribulations  with  the  theatre  which  he  had  started  in  Bergen, 
and  besides  giving  concerts,  his  plan  was  now  to  establish  a  New  Nor- 
way here.  He  purchased  some  125,000  acres  in  Potter  County,  Pa.,  and 
he  met  Norwegian  emigrant  ships  in  New  York  in  order  to  persuade  the 
passengers  to  join  his  colony,  which  he  called  Oleana.  In  September, 
1852,  the  ship  Incognito  from  Oslo,  Captain  S0ren  Christophersen,  ar- 
rived in  New  York  with  44  passengers  including  the  pioneer  clergyman, 
Jakob  Aall  Ottesen  and  his  wife,  who  were  bound  for  Manitowoc,  Wis. 
In  a  letter  to  his  family  in  Oslo,  published  in  Nordis\  Tidende  on  Octo- 
ber 15,  1925,  Captain  Christophersen  writes  that  he  was  invited  by  Ole 
Bull  to  his  hotel,  where,  after  dinner,  he  had  the  pleasure  to  listen  to 
Bull  playing  his  violin.  The  Captain  and  Mr.  Ottesen  were  also  Bull's 
guests  at  Oleana. 

In  Reminiscences  of  a  Pioneer  Editor,  Carl  Fredrik  Solberg  relates 

ijonas  Lie:  Ole  Bull. 



Norwegians  in  New  York 

that,  in  1853,  he  and  his  father  arrived  in  New  York,  where  Ole  Bull  en- 
gaged the  father  as  director  of  the  undertaking  at  Oleana.2  The  colonists 
had  a  hard  time  of  it,  says  Solberg,  who  was  astonished  at  Bull's  ridicu- 
lous purchase.  What  induced  him  to  buy  a  miserable  mountain  tract 
when  millions  of  fertile  acres  were  to  be  had  in  the  West  is  hard  to  say. 
At  any  rate,  Bull  was  shamelessly  swindled  in  the  purchase  of  the  land 
and  his  dream  of  founding  a  little  Norway  in  America  soon  fell  through. 
Solberg  worked  tor  a  while  for  a  farmer  in  the  neighborhood  of  Oleana 
and  then  went  West  to  Wisconsin,  where  he  became  editor  of  Emigranten 
and  other  papers. 

One  of  Ole  Bull's  secretaries  at  Oleana  was  Bertol  W.  Suckow,  whom 
he  had  also  engaged  in  New  York  and  who  was  later  to  become  a  promi- 
nent bookbinder  in  Madison  and  the  publisher  of  Billed-Magazin,  the 
first  Norwegian  magazine  in  America.  After  the  failure  of  the  Oleana 
colony,  Suckow  went  back  to  New  York  and  from  there  to  Wisconsin.' 
Another  secretary  of  the  violinist,  John  Henry  Andersen,  had  an  adopted 
son,  Willard  Rule  Andersen,  who  in  1940  was  still  living  in  the  neigh- 
borhood. He  was  then  90  years  old.4 

Hans  Mohr  from  Norway,  who  in  1939  visited  these  tracts,  has  re- 
ported to  Nordmanns-Forbundet  that  the  ruins  of  Ole  Bull's  "castle"  are 
still  to  be  seen.  The  area  has  been  made  into  the  Ole  Bull  Park  by  the 
State  of  Pennsylvania.  Carl  S0yland,  editor  of  Nordis\  Tidende,  has 
visited  the  place  repeatedly  and  says  that  it  is  the  custom  of  the  caretakers 
to  hoist  the  American  and  Norwegian  flags  on  holidays.  The  Norwegian 
Society  in  Brooklyn,  Intime  Forum,  donated  to  the  State  park,  in  1938,  a 
new  Norwegian  flag,  as  the  old  one  was  worn  out. 

In  1857  Ole  Bull  returned  to  Europe  after  a  series  of  successful  con- 
certs in  the  United  States,  the  last  one  in  Dodworth's  Hall,  New  York. 
In  this  year  his  son,  Alexander,  came  to  this  country  for  the  first  time. 
He  acted  as  impresario  and  he  also  gave  concerts  as  a  violinist,  but  was 
not  by  any  means  as  gifted  as  his  father. 

In  1867,  Ole  Bull  was  back  in  America  for  the  third  time.  He  had 
an  idea  for  the  improvement  of  pianos  which  he  wanted  to  have  patented, 

*Xord\s\  Tidende,  April  17,  1891;  July  14,  1896;  July  4,  1901. 
3Norwegian-American  Historical  Association,  Studies  and  Records,  Vol.  I, 

p.  136-137. 
*Hew  Vor\  Sun,  February  17,  1940. 

Interesting  Personalities 


and  so  the  Ole  Bull  Piano  Company  was  started  to  carry  on  the  business. 
Ihlseng,  the  piano-maker,  was  to  prepare  the  model — according  to  Rey- 
mert,  who  knew  Ole  Bull  well  through  the  violinist's  frequent  visits  to 
Reymert's  uncle.  Ole  Bull  was  a  poor  business  man.  No  patent  was  ever 
issued  and  the  whole  result  was  lawsuits  and  trouble.  Reymert  adds  that 
Ole  Bull  wrote  perfect  English,  but  spoke  the  language  poorly.  In  1870, 
he  went  on  a  concert  tour  that  took  him  all  the  way  to  San  Francisco, 
and  in  the  fall  of  the  same  year,  Ole  Bull,  who  was  a  widower,  married 
Miss  Sarah  Thorp  of  Madison,  Wisconsin/'  In  1880,  he  became  seriously 
ill,  but  he  managed  to  get  home  to  Lys0en  near  Bergen,  where  he  died 
August  17,  1880.  Ole  Bull  was  a  tall  and  handsome  man.6  He  was  an  in- 
tensely patriotic  Norwegian  and  is  said  to  have  done  much  to  encourage 
the  movement  which  in  1887  resulted  in  the  erection  of  the  Leiv  Eiriks- 
son  Monument  in  Boston.7 

The  Daily  Telegraph  of  London,  England,  made  at  one  time  the 
following  remark  about  him:  "The  picturesque  figure  of  Ole  Bull,  with 
his  violin  under  his  arm,  went  through  Europe  and  America  proudly 
Norwegian,  calling  himself,  in  pleasant  moments,  Ole  Olsen  Viol,  Norse 
Norman  from  Norway."  It  has  been  said  that  no  other  musical  artist  has 
been  as  popular  in  this  country  as  Ole  Bull.  The  impression  of  him  lives 
yet  in  old  American  families.  It  is  of  him  the  poet  Longfellow  writes  the 
following  lines  in  Tales  of  a  Wayside  Inn: 

Before  the  blazing  fire  of  wood 

Erect  the  rapt  musician  stood; 
And  ever  and  anon  he  bent 

His  head  upon  his  instrument. 
And  seemed  to  listen,  till  he  caught 

Confessions  of  its  secret  thought — 
The  joy,  the  triumph,  the  lament, 

The  exultations  and  the  pain; 
Then  by  the  magic  of  his  art, 

He  soothed  the  throbbing  of  its  heart 
And  lulled  it  into  peace  again. 

5Mrs.  Bull  was  a  near  relative  of  Longfellow. 
eHordis\  Tidende,  August  20,  1914. 

'Captain  Ole  B.  Bull  of  the  Oslofjord,  and  Charlotte  Lund,  the  singer,  belong 
to  the  Bull  family. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

On  May  17,  1897,  a  monument  of  Ole  Bull,  by  the  sculptor  Jakob 
Fjelde,  was  unveiled  in  Loring  Park,  Minneapolis.  Ole  Bull's  widow  was 
present,  and  his  son,  Alexander,  played  "Szterjentens  Stfndag"  on  his 
father's  violin. 

The  famous  Norwegian  poet  and  lecturer,  Bj0rnstjerne  Bj0rnson  had 
for  some  years  contemplated  paying  a  visit  to  America,  but  nothing  came 
of  it  until  after  the  death  of  Ole  Bull.  Bj0rnson  had  delivered  the  funeral 
oration  and  the  widow  invited  him  to  visit  Cambridge,  Massachusetts, 
as  her  guest.  He  arrived  in  New  York,  September  26,  1880,  and  a  few 
days  later  he  proceeded  to  Cambridge,  where  he  stayed  for  two  and  a 
half  months.  Here  he  met  William  Dean  Howells  and  other  literary 
celebrities.  A  flood  of  invitations  from  his  countrymen  in  the  West 
poured  in  upon  him,  and  he  decided  on  an  extended  lecture  tour  which 
was  to  be  arranged  by  his  friend,  Professor  Rasmus  B.  Anderson.  Before 
embarking  on  this  tour,  Bj0rnson  came  back  to  New  York,  where  he 
lived  with  his  old  friend,  Clemens  Petersen,  the  Danish  critic,  and  he 
associated  with  Professor  Hjalmar  Hjort  Boyesen. 

In  the  West  Bj0rnson  became  a  storm  center.  At  most  places  he 
gave  his  historical-patriotic  lecture,  which  generally  awakened  great  en- 
thusiasm, but  his  lecture  on  the  Bible — he  had  become  an  agnostic — led 
to  a  most  violent  discussion  in  the  Norwegian-American  newspapers.  He 
also  went  out  of  his  way  to  criticize  the  Norwegians  for  their  morals 
and  manners,  especially  in  the  newer  settlements.8 

In  "Bj0rnstjerne  Bj0rnsons  Breve  til  Alexander  Kielland"  there  is  one 
dated  Minneapolis,  March  7,  1881,  in  which  Bj0rnson  says:  "I  am  fight- 
ing and  feeling  good.  Snow  storms  (bad  weather  had  interferred  with 
his  lecture  engagements)  have  blown  away  from  me  more  than  one  thous- 
and dollars,  which  are  gone  forever;  before  the  storms  came,  I  made  three 
thousand  and  hereafter  I  will,  perhaps,  make  a  couple — clear  profit,  you 
understand.  Besides  I  do  as  much  harm  as  I  can,  and  it  won't  be  pos- 
sible to  pull  out  these  thorns  afterwards." 

Bj0rnson  thought  he  was  doing  good  by  telling  disagreeable  truths 
to  the  Norwegian-Americans. 

In  1895,  Bj0rnson  wrote  a  long  article  in  The  Forum  about  "The 
Modern  Norwegian  Literature." 

Scandinavian  Studies,  Larson  and  Haugen,  February,  1934. 

Interesting  Personalities 


The  well-known  radical  agitator,  Marcus  Thrane,  had  some  trouble 
with  the  law  in  Norway,  due  to  his  advanced  social  theories,  which  it 
was  claimed,  excited  the  workingmen  to  disorders.  Today,  his  theories 
would  seem  reasonable  enough.  After  having  served  his  prison  sentence, 
Thrane  emigrated  from  Norway  in  1864.  He  lived  for  about  a  year  in 
New  York,  without  doing  anything  in  particular,  and  then  he  went  to 
Chicago,  where  he  published  a  couple  of  newspapers  and  also  the 
blasphemous  Wisconsin  Bible.  He  also  interested  himself  in  Norwegian 
theatricals.  Thrane  died  in  1890  at  his  son's  home  in  Eau  Claire,  Wis. 
A  descendant  of  the  labor  agitator,  Robert  Thrane,  is  a  highly  regarded 
'cellist  in  New  York. 

Quite  a  romantic  story  can  be  written  around  the  life  of  the  Nor- 
wegian singer,  Lorentz  Severin  Skougaard,  who  came  to  New  York  in 
May,  1866,  and  stayed  there  until  he  died  in  1885.  Skougaard,  whose 
father  was  a  sea-captain  and  whose  mother  belonged  to  the  well-known 
Lund  family  in  Farsund,  was  born  in  1837  at  Egvaag>  near  Farsund,  but 
the  family  moved  later  to  Langesund.  At  the  age  of  eleven,  Skougaard 
was  sent  to  his  uncle  in  Memel,  Germany,  in  order  to  receive  a  general, 
as  well  as  a  business,  education.  In  addition  he  studied  music.  After 
some  years  he  went  to  England  to  seek  employment  in  business,  but  he 
decided  to  devote  himself  entirely  to  the  art  of  singing  and  he  went  to 
Paris  and  to  Italy  to  pursue  his  studies.  It  was  at  this  time  that  he  Italian- 
ized his  name  to  L.  Skougaard-Severini.  This  was  for  professional  rea- 
sons and  in  order  to  follow  the  then  prevailing  custom.  In  Paris  he  ac- 
cepted an  invitation  from  a  wealthy  young  American,  Alfred  Corning 
Clark,  who  had  heard  him  sing  at  his  teacher's  studio,  to  come  with  him 
(Clark)  to  New  York.  Clark  was  a  member  of  the  Singer  Sewing  Ma- 
chine family  and  was  a  man  of  considerable  influence.  In  New  York, 
Skougaard-Severini  established  himself  as  a  singer  and  teacher  and  be- 
came prominent  in  the  musical  life  of  the  city.  He  naturally  came  to 
know  the  Norwegian-Swedish  Consul,  Christian  B0rs,  and  wife  who  were 
very  much  interested  in  the  proposed  Norwegian  Hospital.  This  explains 
how  the  singer's  friends,  Mr.  Clark  and  Commodore  Frederick  G. 
Bourne,  became  attached  to  this  institution  and  left  legacies  to  the  hos- 
pital in  their  wills.  Clark's  legacy  is  in  memory  of  Skougaard-Severini. 
Clark  even  sang  at  an  affair  for  the  benefit  of  the  Norwegian  Hospital 
some  time  in  the  Eighties.   When  Skougaard-Severini's  brother,  Jens 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Skougaard,  came  to  New  York  in  1884,  he  also  became  a  member  of  this 
circle  of  friends.  He  was  an  engineer.  He  served  from  1904  to  1906  as 
President  of  the  Norwegian  Hospital  and  he  left  a  legacy  to  the  hospital 
in  memory  of  Alfred  Corning  Clark. 

Skougaard-Severini  lived  for  a  number  of  years  at  64  West  22nd 
Street,  New  York  City,  where  his  friends  used  to  foregather,  and  he  died 
there  in  February,  1885.  His  body  was  taken  to  Langesund,  Norway,  for 
burial.  The  various  legacies  mentioned  are  each  in  the  sum  of  $64,000, 
and  there  was  also  a  ship  in  Langesund  by  the  name  of  Sixty-jour,  the 
number  being  taken  from  the  house  in  22nd  Street.9 

One  of  the  most  prominent  Norwegians  in  New  York  in  the  Seven- 
ties and  Eighties  was  the  Norwegian  Consul,  Christian  B0rs.  He  was 
born  in  Bergen  in  1823  and  came  to  America  after  having  been  for  some 
time  in  Stettin,  Germany.  B0rs  established  an  import  and  export  business 
in  Boston,  where  he  became  Norwegian-Swedish  Vice-consul  in  1858. 
Later  he  established  the  firm  of  Christian  B0rs  and  Company  in  New 
York,  where  he  was  appointed  Norwegian-Swedish  Vice-consul  in  1866 
and  Consul  in  1871.10  After  1870,  the  Consulate  grew  rapidly  in  import- 
ance, and  it  has  been  stated  that  there  might  be  at  one  time  more  than 
300  Norwegian  vessels  at  anchor  in  New  York  harbor  with  crews  num- 
bering up  to  2,000  men.  The  arrivals  of  Norwegian  ships  alone  increased 
from  100  in  1870  to  1200  in  1880.  The  immigration  which  had  turned 
to  Quebec  in  1850,  returned  to  the  Port  of  New  York  in  1870. 

Consul  B0rs,  who  was  an  able  business  man  and  acquired  quite  a 
fortune,  retired  from  his  extensive  business  interests  in  1878,  but  he  re- 
mained as  Consul  until  1889.  Both  he  and  his  second  wife,  Mrs.  Anna 
B0rs,  were  highly  regarded  in  social  circles  in  New  York  and  they  always 
were  ready  to  help  in  any  meritorious  undertakings  among  their  country- 
men. Consul  B0rs  had,  for  instance,  a  good  deal  to  do  with  the  establish- 
ment of  the  Norwegian  Sailors'  Home,  and  Mrs.  B0rs  served  for  four 
years,  from  1886  to  1889,  as  President  of  the  Norwegian  Lutheran  Dea- 
conesses' Home  and  Hospital,  of  which  both  were  honorary  members.11 

9Most  of  the  information  has  been  taken  from  a  biography  of  Lorentz  Severin 
Skougaard,  printed  for  private  distribution  by  Alfred  Corning  Clark,  1885, 
p.  250, 

™Hordis\  Tidende,  June  8,  1905. 

"Rygg,  The  History  of  the  Norwegian  Hospital. 

Interesting  Personalities 


When  B0rs  resigned  as  Consul  in  1889,  they  went  to  Paris  to  live,  and  he 
died  in  that  city  in  1905,  82  years  old.  The  burial  took  place  in  Oslo. 
Mrs.  B0rs  died  there  in  1 9 1 5,  leaving  kr.  50,000  to  the  Norwegian 
Hospital  in  Brooklyn. 

B0rs  is  said  to  have  had  hard  sledding  to  begin  with;  he  worked  for 
awhile  as  conductor  on  a  street  car  in  South  Street,  New  York,  and  later 
as  a  milk  man  in  Boston.  It  was  in  the  latter  capacity  he  met  his  first 
wife,  a  Miss  Bayard  of  a  prominent  and  wealthy  Boston  family.  He  was 
a  man  of  polished  manners  and  attractive  appearance.12 

The  Norwegian  Consulate  General  in  New  York  is,  it  may  be  said, 
quite  different  in  some  aspects  from  similar  establishments  in  other 
countries.  Primarily,  of  course,  the  consulates  are  maintained  to  further 
the  interests  of  Norway,  but  in  New  York  and  other  cities  in  the  United 
States  they  also  have  to  deal  with  large  groups  of  Norwegian-Americans. 
These  groups  demand  certain  services,  which  are  usually  cheerfully  given. 
In  this  way  the  Consul  comes  to  be  not  only  the  representative  of  Norway, 
but  also  to  some  extent  the  representative  of  the  local  group,  and  he  is 
continually  called  on  for  services  of  the  most  varied  character.  There  are 
inheritances  in  large  numbers  to  be  settled;  people  get  into  trouble  and 
make  straight  for  the  Consulate  to  get  advice  and  help,  and  the  Consul 
must,  of  course,  also  stand  ready  to  speak  on  festive  occasions. 

No  Norwegian  has  been  more  popular  or  more  highly  regarded  than 
Consul  General  Christopher  Ravn.  He  was  born  in  1849  at  0rskog, 
S0ndm0re,  where  his  father  was  an  Army  Captain.  He  came  to  New 
York  in  1869  and  served  for  nearly  fifty  years  at  the  Norwegian  Consulate 
as  Vice-consul,  Consul  and  for  the  last  fifteen  years  as  Consul  General. 

It  was  said  of  him  that,  if  there  were  conflicts  between  captains  and 
their  crews,  he  usually  sided  with  the  latter,  for  the  reason  that  the  cap- 
tains were  in  a  better  position  to  take  care  of  themselves.  Before  Ravn 
was  appoined  Consul  and  Consul  General,  he  received  enthusiastic  sup- 
port from  the  Colony  through  petitions  sent  to  the  Foreign  Office  of 
Norway.  He  retired  in  1920  and  he  died  in  Norway  in  1921,  72  years 

12Information  furnished  by  an  old  acquaintance  of  Mr.  Bars. 

13Hordis\  Tidende,  January  16,  July  10,  1891;  March  8,  1900;  March  16,  1922. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Hjalmar  Hjort  Boyesen  was  a  Norwegian  immigrant  who  was  able 
to  win  for  himself  a  place  in  the  field  of  American  literature.  He  was  born 
in  September,  1848,  at  Fredriksvaern,  Norway,  and  in  1869  he  landed  in 
New  York  with  his  younger  brother,  Ingolf,  who  later  became  a  promi- 
nent lawyer  in  Chicago. 

Hjalmar  studied  for  awhile  at  a  College  in  Urbana,  Ohio,  worked 
later  on  Fremad,  a  Dano-Norwegian  newspaper  in  Chicago,  and  then  he 
became  an  assistant  professor  in  Northern  languages  at  Cornell  University, 
Ithaca,  New  York.  In  1881,  Boyesen  came  to  Columbia  University,  New 
York  City,  as  Professor  of  German  literature.  He  lectured  also  on  Nor- 
wegian-Danish literature  and  conducted  a  class  in  Norwegian.  Among 
his  books  are  Gunnar;  A  Norseman's  Pilgrimage;  Falconberg;  Tales  of 
Two  Hemispheres;  The  Modern  Vikings;  Essays  On  Scandinavian  Lit- 
erature, and  Story  of  Norway. 

Boyesen  was  an  enthusiastic  American  who  took  his  naturalization 
seriously,  but  he  had  at  the  same  time  a  large  measure  of  racial  pride. 
He  would  occasionally  deliver  speeches  to  Norwegian  audiences  in 
Brooklyn.  He  died  only  47  years  old  on  October  3,  1895,  and  was  buried 
at  Kensico.  Many  prominent  New  Yorkers  acted  as  pall-bearers. 

Saroff  Boyesen,  father  of  Hjalmar  Hjort  Boyesen,  in  the  1840's  held 
a  commission  as  captain  in  the  Norwegian  Army.  He  was  a  Sweden- 
borgian  which  interfered  with  his  promotion,  at  a  time  when  all  servants 
of  the  State  were  expected  to  give  their  undivided  allegiance  to  the 
established  Church.  In  1876,  Captain  Boyesen  emigrated  from  Norway 
and  settled  in  Vineland,  New  Jersey,  where  he  died  October  5,  1894.14 

Attorney  August  Reymert,  who  was  a  nephew  of  James  Denoon 
Reymert,  now  makes  his  appearance  on  the  stage.  He  was  born  in  1851 
in  Vaage,  Gudbrandsdalen,  where  his  father  served  as  doctor  of  an 
Army  brigade.  Young  Reymert  went  to  sea  with  the  schooner  Fris\ 
from  Fredrikshald  at  the  age  of  sixteen.  He  deserted  the  ship  in  Nova 
Scotia,  and  came  to  New  York  in  1869.  Here  he  studied  law  in  the 
office  of  his  uncle  and  became  an  attorney  in  1874.  He  thereafter  prac- 
ticed continuously  for  57  years  until  his  death  in  1932.  He  was  a  Knight 
of  the  Order  of  St.  Olav  and  he  had  also  been  awarded  a  Swedish  order.15 

14The  Changing  of  the  West,  Laurence  M.  Larson,  p.  83. 

15Hordis\  Tidende,  January  9,  1891;  August  4,  1893;  October  10,  1901;  March 
3,  1910. 

Interesting  Personalities 


Reymert  was  the  attorney  for  Major  Krag  and  Gunmaker  j0rgensen, 
when  the  rights  to  the  Norwegian  Krag-j0rgensen  rifle  were  purchased 
by  the  U.  S.  Government.  The  rifle  was  used  in  the  Spanish-American 
War  in  1898. 

In  an  interview  in  Nordis}^  Tidende,  October  8,  1925,  Reymert  told 
of  some  of  his  experiences: 

"I  have  known,  more  or  less  intimately,  many  interesting  people  dur- 
ing my  long  life  in  New  York:  Ole  Bull,  Bj0rnstjerne  Bj0rnson,  Hans 
Balling,  C.  D.  Schubarth,  Sverre  Lie  (father  of  the  painter  Jonas  Lie), 
Severin  Skougaard,  Walt  Whitman,  Senator  Knute  Nelson,  Gunnerius 
Gabrielsen  and  Consul  General  Ravn.  I  have  carried  Ole  Bull's  violin 
many  times  from  Westmoreland  Hotel  to  the  Academy  of  Music  in  14th 
Street,  where  he  gave  concerts.16  I  danced  with  the  Swedish  Nightingale, 
Christina  Nilsson,  in  1870  at  a  Scandinavian  festival.  In  1869,  I  had  a 
dram  with  the  Swede,  John  Ericsson,  the  inventor  of  the  Monitor,  when 
we  gave  him  a  serenade  at  his  home  in  Beach  Street." 

A  relative  of  the  two  Reymerts  previously  mentioned,  Dr.  Martin  L. 
Reymert,  has  for  more  than  20  years  been  managing  the  large  institution 
for  boys  at  Moosehart,  111. 

In  its  number  of  December  16,  1915,  Nordisf^  Tidende  made  the 
statement  that  Attorney  August  Reymert  most  likely  was  the  Norwegian 
who  had  lived  longest  in  New  York.  Reymert  came  here  in  the  spring 
of  1869.  But  Magnus  C.  Ihlseng  arrived  in  New  York  as  a  baby  in  1851. 
Reymert,  however,  had  the  satisfaction  of  nosing  out  Dr.  Jonas  Rein 
Nilsen,  who  came  to  New  York  in  the  fall  of  1869,  but  had  arrived  in 
Chicago  in  1866.  Dr.  Nilsen  was  from  Bergen  and  graduated  from  the 
College  of  Physicians  and  Surgeons  in  1880.  He  owned  a  private  hos- 
pital in  New  York  City,  and  a  sanatorium  in  Sunapee,  New  Hampshire. 
In  his  younger  days,  Dr.  Nilsen  was  much  interested  in  theatricals  and 
he  claimed  that  he  had  assisted  at  the  first  performance  in  this  country 
of  the  musical  show  Til  Sceters.  This  took  place  in  Chicago,  April  19, 

16The  violinist,  Carl  H.  Tollefsen,  owns  a  violin  that  is  said  to  have  belonged 
to  Ole  Bull. 



DIRCK  Volckertsen  headed  a  group  of  Scandinavian  families  who 
settled  in  Greenpoint  soon  after  the  land  was  bought  from  the  Indi- 
ans. "Dirck,  the  Norman,"  as  he  was  popularly  called,  and  his  family 
finally  came  into  possession  of  the  whole  of  Greenpoint.  Dirck's  patent 
was  dated  April  3,  1645.  He  built  a  house,  the  first  on  record,  presumably 
the  next  year.  It  stood  on  a  knoll,  where  Calyer  Street  runs,  and  from  one 
hundred  to  two  hundred  feet  west  of  Franklin  Street.  More  than  two 
hundred  years  later,  the  Greenpoint  Savings  Bank  began  its  career  a  few 
feet  from  the  exact  spot.  Dirck's  lawn  sloped  gently  to  the  Norman's  Kill 
on  the  south,  which  took  its  name  from  him.  It  has  been  perpetuated  in 
Norman  Avenue.  His  house  was  of  the  old  Dutch  type,  one  and  one-half 
stories  high,  with  dormer  windows.  The  doors  were  studded  with  glass 
eyes  and  brass  knockers.  The  farm,  orchard  and  meadows  were  among 
the  finest  of  the  period. 

Dirck  was  a  ship  carpenter  by  trade,  but  he  lived  in  an  agricultural 
district  and  his  trade  served  him  poorly.  He  proved  a  good  farmer. 
Dirck's  sons  inherited  his  lands  and  sold  them  in  1718.1 

In  Scandinavian  Immigrants  in  New  Yorf^,  Professor  John  O.  Evjen 
devotes  considerable  space  to  Dirck  Holgersen,  or  Dirck  Volckertsen.  He 
was  a  Norwegian,  as  indicated  by  the  cognomen  "Noorman",  so  frequent- 
ly given  to  him  in  the  sources.  Dirck  is  the  same  as  Hendrick  or  Didrik. 
Whenever  he  is  called  "Volckertsen",  a  corruption  of  "Holgersen"  is  evi- 
dent, says  Professor  Evjen.  We  do  not  know  when  Dirck  came  to  New 
Netherland.  He  was,  however,  one  of  its  early  settlers. 

Didrik  Holgersen  and  his  sons  are  gone,  so  is  also  the  thriving  Nor- 
wegian colony  that  grew  up  in  Greenpoint  in  the  decades  before  and 

1The  Boroughs  of  Brooklyn  and  Queens,  Vol.  II,  Henry  Isham  Hazelton,  p. 


The  Invasion  of  Brooklyn 


after  1900,  but  the  names  Norman's  Kill  and  Norman  Avenue  still  exist. 
There  is  a  Norman  Place  south  of  Evergreen  Cemetery. 

There  is  also  a  Norman's  Kill  a  few  miles  west  of  Albany.  This 
creek  is  named  after  another  Norwegian,  Albert  Andriessen.2 

Earlier  in  these  pages  a  number  of  people  have  been  mentioned  who 
were  in  the  advance  guard  of  the  Norwegian  invasion  of  Brooklyn: 
Aanon  Anson  and  family,  John  Jeppesen  and  family,  Harry  L.  Christian, 
Thomas  Halvorsen,  Captain  Hans  Osmundsen,  John  Widness,  William 
Mathisen,  Jakob  Eriksen,  Butch  Thompson,  Charles  Thompson.  It  was 
an  invasion  that  began  with  this  small  group  about  1850,  gathered  speed 
about  1870  and  kept  on  without  interruption  until  the  American  govern- 
ment in  the  1920's  put  a  brake  on  immigration.  In  the  early  days  the 
invasion  consisted  mostly  of  seafaring  men  who,  generally  speaking,  took 
possession  of  the  district  between  Erie  Basin,  Gowanus  Canal,  Court 
Street  and  Atlantic  Avenue.  Many  families  lived  on  Beach  Place,  near 
Hamilton  Ferry,  and  on  18th  Street,  between  Third  and  Fourth  Avenues. 

An  early  settler  in  Brooklyn  was  Martin  Carlsen  who  came  to  Hunt- 
ers Point,  Long  Island  City,  about  1870.  He  was  from  the  eastern  part 
of  Norway  and  was  in  business  as  an  expressman.  Williams,  the  under- 
taker, was  also  one  of  the  Norwegian  pioneers  in  this  section.  He  is 
described  as  a  fine  man.  Then  there  were  two  brothers,  James  and  Mar- 
tin Schreiber,  who  ran  a  saloon.  They  were  from  Fredrikshald.  Martin 
is  said  at  one  time  to  have  lived  in  Washington,  D.  C,  where  he  was  valet 
to  President  Cleveland.  Einar  Haslund  came  from  Sarpsborg  in  1886 
and  for  many  years  had  a  grocery  store  in  Greenpoint.  He  finally  sold 
it  and  bought  a  farm  in  Vermont.  Oscar  Lund  from  Lyngdal  was  em- 
ployed by  the  Standard  Oil  Company.  His  descendants  live  in  Bay  Ridge. 

Most  of  the  information  concerning  Greenpoint  and  Hunters  Point 
has  come  from  Iver  Iversen,  who  hails  from  Farsund  and  in  1884  came 
to  Brooklyn  for  the  first  time,  as  a  sailor.  In  1887  he  was  shipwrecked 
on  Bermuda  and  he  came  to  Brooklyn  for  good.  In  the  course  of  time, 
Iversen  became  a  well-known  builder.  He  is  a  devoted  churchman  and 
a  strong  temperance  advocate.  He  relates  that  the  Norwegians  in  the 
Eighties  and  the  first  half  of  the  Nineties  were  numerous  enough  in  the 

2Evjen,  Scandinavian  Immigrants. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

section  to  maintain  the  Scandinavian  Society  of  Long  Island  City,  which 
at  one  time  (in  1887)  had  more  than  60  members.  When  the  United 
States  was  a  century  old,  in  1889,  the  society  took  part  in  the  great  parade 
in  New  York  under  its  own  banner,  which  was  carried  by  Mr.  Iversen. 
The  society  was  dissolved  about  1895,  when  the  interest  of  the  people 
went  into  the  establishment  of  a  Norwegian  church  in  the  locality.  The 
last  president  was  Dr.  Stousland,  who  had  worked  himself  up  through 
his  own  efforts.  Stousland  was  married  to  a  sister  of  Mrs.  Ingvald  Ton- 
ning.  They  belonged  to  a  family  called  Hede,  from  Mandal. 

In  Williamsburg  there  were  three  Norwegian  settlers  in  the  Sixties: 
John  Widness  and  Anders  DahJ,  who  have  been  mentioned  earlier  in  this 
book,  and  John  Valeur,  who  came  from  Bergen  and  was  of  French  de- 
scent. His  family  had  emigrated  to  Norway  on  account  of  religious  per- 
secution. He  was  for  at  least  twenty  years  ferry-master  for  the  Nassau 
Ferry  Company. 

The  Norwegian  settlement  at  Hunters  Point  and  Greenpoint  of 
Brooklyn  and  vicinity  has  now  almost  entirely  disappeared.  The  people 
have  scattered  in  all  directions.  At  one  time  there  were  two  small  Nor- 
wegian churches  in  the  locality.  When  the  membership  dwindled,  they 
combined.  Now  there  are  hardly  any  members  left. 

In  1887,  John  Iversen,  a  brother  of  Iver  Iversen,  was  a  member  of 
the  crew  of  a  new  warship,  the  Dolphin,  which  was  sent  on  a  good- 
will cruise  around  the  world.  In  those  days  there  was  no  Panama  Canal, 
so  the  ship  had  to  go  through  the  Strait  of  Magellan.  The  Dolphin  made 
port  in  all  countries  on  the  way  and  the  crew  was  received  by  King 
Hipolite  at  Hayti,  and  by  King  Kalakua  at  Honolulu.  Martin  Magnusen 
from  Hammerfest,  and  Oscar  Johannesen  Smith  from  Oslo,  and  a  few 
other  Norwegians  were  also  on  board/ 

As  has  been  stated,  the  Norwegians  lived  first  in  Manhattan,  north 
of  City  Hall  and  along  the  East  River.  Later,  in  the  Seventies,  they  start- 
ed to  move  over  to  Brooklyn  in  order  to  be  near  the  shipyards  in  Erie 
Basin.  The  greater  portion  of  them  settled  in  the  section  between  Ham- 
ilton Avenue  and  Smith  Street,  and  this  was  for  many  years  a  decidedly 
Norwegian  community  with  churches,  business  houses,  etc.  At  the  turn 

information  furnished  by  the  Iversen  brothers. 

The  Invasion  of  Brooklyn 


of  the  century  the  Italians  began  to  move  in,  and  now  the  greater  part 
of  the  Norwegian  population  is  to  be  found  in  Bay  Ridge,  one  of  the 
healthiest  and  most  desirable  sections  of  Brooklyn.  Here  the  Norwegian 
Hospital,  the  Old  People's  Home,  the  Children's  Home,  and  other  insti- 
tutions and  churches  are  situated. 

Many  Norwegians  live  also  on  Staten  Island,  in  New  Jersey,  in 
Harlem  and  the  Bronx,  and  further  out  on  Long  Island.  While  these 
settlements  are  in  a  sense  separated  from  the  larger  setdement  in  Brook- 
lyn, it  is  but  fair  to  consider  all  of  them  as  parts  of  the  Norwegian  settle- 
ment in  the  Metropolitan  area. 

By  1870,  the  Norwegian  population  in  New  York  had  increased  to 
975,  and  various  new  undertakings  were  started.  In  1871,  the  Norwegian 
Society  of  New  York  was  formed  and  the  same  year  the  Norwegian- 
American  Steamship  Company,  which  was  the  forerunner  of  the  Nor- 
wegian-America Line,  began  its  immigration  traffic  between  Norway 
and  New  York.  In  1873,  the  Norwegian  Singing  Society  of  New  York 
made  its  appearance.  While  the  majority  of  the  Norwegians  were  still 
living  in  New  York,  Brooklyn  was  gradually  coming  to  the  front  with 
a  stronger  Norwegian  section. 

Brooklyn  in  1870  was  vastly  different  from  the  city  which  greets 
the  eye  today.  It  was  little  more  than  a  sprawling,  overgrown  village. 
Lite  was  almost  primitive  in  its  simplicity.  Stagecoaches  still  traversed 
many  of  the  cobbled  streets,  even  in  the  downtown  section,  and  horse 
cars  which  began  running  in  1854  were  still  regarded  with  suspicion  and 
somewhat  in  the  nature  of  a  revolutionary  innovation  —  almost  as  much 
so  as  the  automobile  and  airplane  of  a  later  date.  Downtown  Brooklyn 
was  illuminated  by  gas  lamps;  the  outlying  sections  of  the  city  had  no 
illumination  whatsoever.  The  general  use  of  the  electric  light  was  still 
many  years  in  the  future.  The  ferry  was  the  only  means  of  communica- 
tion with  Manhattan. 

The  two  cities,  Brooklyn  and  New  York,  grew  much  closer  together 
when  easier  means  of  communication  were  provided  by  the  construction 
of  the  Brooklyn  Bridge,  which  was  finished  in  1883.  The  Brooklyn 
Bridge  was  then  regarded  as  the  eighth  wonder  of  the  world  and  was  at 
the  time  the  largest  suspension  bridge  ever  erected,  with  a  length  of  1% 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

miles.  Thereafter  it  was  only  a  question  of  time  when  the  two  cities  and 
others  in  the  area  should  be  consolidated.4 

J0rgen  Gjerdrum,  who  visited  New  York  in  December,  1874,  com- 
plains of  the  swindlers  and  robbers,  saying:  "I  cannot,  therefore,  praise 
the  safety  of  New  York  but  was  glad  to  get  away  with  a  whole  skin." 
Gjerdrum  adds,  however,  that  the  Consul  (B0rs)  assured  him  that  his 
countrymen  were  doing  well. ' 

A  brief  description  of  Bay  Ridge  in  1883,  when  the  Norwegian  Hos- 
pital moved  out  to  this  section,  may  be  of  interest.  The  Association  most 
assuredly  displayed  keen  foresight  in  selecting  a  location  that  was  later 
to  become  the  center  of  a  teeming  city  district.  It  was  then  to  a  great 
extent  unsettled  territory  and  horse  cars  traveled  only  as  far  as  25th  Street. 
If  people  wanted  to  go  farther  out,  they  took  the  "Dummy"  (operated  by 
steam)  at  25th  Street  and  Third  Avenue.  This  "Dummy"  went  to  Fort 

The  thoroughfare  most  built  up  was  Fourth  Avenue.  The  City  Line 
was  at  60th  Street  and  beyond  the  city  limits  were  the  villages  of  New 
Utrecht  and  Fort  Hamilton.  There  were  three  ways  in  which  people 
could  get  to  Coney  Island:  From  20th  Street  and  Ninth  Avenue  (the  Cul- 
ver Road),  from  26th  Street  and  Fifth  Avenue,  and  from  65th  Street 
and  Third  Avenue  (the  Sea  Beach  Road).  These  three  lines  were  op- 
erated by  steam.  From  Fifth  Avenue  up  the  Ridge  and  away  beyond  to 
Borough  Park  and  Blythebourne  the  section  consisted  almost  entirely  of 
truck  farms  with  woods  here  and  there  and  a  few  ponds. 

The  highest  natural  elevation  in  Brooklyn — 210  feet — is  in  Green- 
wood Cemetery,  near  the  9th  Avenue  entrance.  At  Fifth  Avenue  and 
59th  Street,  the  elevation  is  116.96  feet.6 

The  Battle  of  Long  Island  was  fought  on  August  26  and  27,  1776, 
along  Bay  Ridge,  the  Gowanus  Channel,  Flatbush,  and  northward  to 
Brooklyn  Heights.  In  this  battle  Lord  Howe  and  a  British  army  of 
15,000  men  defeated  George  Washington  and  an  ill-equipped  American 
army  of  5,000.  In  those  days  Brooklyn  was  only  a  ferry  station. 

4Fulton  Savings  Bank  pamphlet,  1938. 
5Gjerdrum's  America  Letters,  Carlton  O.  Qualey. 

6Most  of  this  information  has  been  furnished  by  Commissioner  of  Jurors  Wil- 
liam J.  Heffernan,  who  was  born  in  the  district. 

The  Invasion  of  Brooklyn 



Hans  Hansen,  from  Bergen,  Norway,  is  one  of  the  first  Norwegian 
immigrants  to  New  York,  and  he  is  the  common  ancestor  of  the  Bergen 
family  of  Long  Island,  New  Jersey,  and  the  vicinity.  He  was  a  ship 
carpenter  by  trade,  went  from  Norway  to  Holland,  and  thence,  in  1633, 
to  New  Amsterdam  with  Wouter  Van  Twiller,  the  Governor  of  New 
Netherland.  In  1639  he  married  Sarah,  daughter  of  Joris  Jansen  Rapalje 
of  Walloon  ancestry.  They  had  six  children.  An  entire  book  of  658 
pages  has  been  written  about  "The  Bergen  Family,  or  the  Descendants 
of  Hans  Hansen  Bergen"  by  Teunis  G.  Bergen,  1876.  He  was  sometimes 
called  Hans  Noorman,  Hans  Hansen  Noorman,  or  Hans  Hansen  de 
Noorman,  and  he  became  a  man  of  substance  and  respected  in  his  new 
surroundings.  He  owned  a  house  fronting  on  Pearl  Street,  near  the  Bat- 
tery, New  York,  acquired  in  1648  some  property  in  Wallabout,7  and 
also  owned  much  land  in  Bushwick  (both  these  places  are  now  sections 
of  Brooklyn.) 

There  is  a  tradition  in  the  family  that  Hans  Hansen  Bergen  was 
working  in  his  field  one  day,  when  he  was  chased  by  Indians.  He  took 
refuge  in  a  tree,  but  was  discovered  and  things  looked  very  discouraging. 
Hansen,  however,  was  the  possessor  of  a  fine  voice,  and  in  his  critical 
situation  he  sang,  "In  My  Greatest  Need,  O  Lord."  This  so  charmed  his 
pursuers  that  they  let  him  go. 

He  died  probably  in  1654. 

The  author  of  the  book  mentioned  above  says  that,  while  some  of 
Hansen's  descendants  may  have  been  disappointed  because  he  did  not 
belong  to  the  nobility,  they  have  the  satisfaction  of  being  members  of 
an  excellent  family. 

One  of  Hans  Hansen's  sons  was  named  Michael  (sometimes  spelled 
Miggiel  or  Meghiel).  He  was  born  in  1644,  baptized  November  4,  1646, 
and  died  about  1732.  Michael  first  owned  land  at  New  Bedford  in  the 
Wallabout,  but  on  March  2,  1674,  he  bought  land  on  the  marsh  of 
Gowanus  and  moved  to  this  plantation,  which  became  the  homestead  of 
the  family.  Here  Michael  built  the  Bergen  House,  a  picture  of  which  is 
to  be  found  in  Historic  Brooklyn,  published  by  the  Brooklyn  Trust  Com- 
pany in  1 94 1.  It  stood  on  Third  Avenue  and  33rd  Street,  Bay  Ridge. 

'Wallabout  is  of  Dutch  origin,  being  a  corruption  of  Wal  Boght  (Walloon  Bay) 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Old  Norwegian  settlers  can  remember  the  house,  surrounded  by  apple 
trees.8  Michael  Hansen  Bergen  was  also  a  man  of  consequence.  He  held 
several  public  offices,  and  was  a  captain  in  the  Brooklyn  militia. 

Michael's  son,  Hans  Bergen,  was  a  baker  and  owned  the  Fulton 
Ferry,  which  connected  with  New  York,  across  the  East  River. 

Several  members  of  the  Bergen  family  owned  most  of  the  land  all 
the  way  from  the  Gowanus  Canal  out  to  48th  Street.  One  of  the  descend- 
ants, Teunis  J.  Bergen,  born  1759,  died  1826,  bought,  in  1807,  a  farm 
of  109  acres  on  the  bay  at  Yellow  Hook,  now  Bay  Ridge.  Jacob  Bergen 
owned  much  land  about  Court,  Hoyt,  Smith,  Carroll,  President  and 
Union  Streets. 

Another  descendant  of  Michael,  John  G.  Bergen,  18 14-1867,  built  a 
house  on  the  southerly  part  of  the  homestead  farm  in  Gowanus.  He  was 
supervisor  of  the  8th  and  9th  Wards  in  1846,  1849  and  1850,  the  last  two 
years  as  chairman  of  the  board.  He  was  also  a  member  of  the  legislative 
assembly  and  of  the  police  commission. 

Teunis  G.  Bergen  was  the  most  noted  member  of  the  family.  He 
was  born  in  New  Utrecht  (now  a  section  of  Brooklyn)  in  1806,  and  was 
proud  always  that  he  was  a  farmer.  He  was  a  surveyor,  colonel  in  the 
National  Guard,  supervisor  of  New  Utrecht  for  twenty-three  years,  and 
was  elected  to  Congress  in  1864." 

There  are  still  many  members  of  the  Bergen  family  living  in  Brook- 
lyn, out  on  Long  Island,  and  in  New  York,  although  all  the  Bergens  list- 
ed in  the  telephone  book  do  not  belong  to  the  family. 

It  is  an  interesting  fact  that  when  the  Norwegian  immigrants  of  last 
century  commenced  to  settle  in  Brooklyn,  they  came  to  occupy  to  a  great 
extent  the  same  sections  of  the  city  that  in  earlier  years  had  been  owned 
as  farms  by  the  Bergen  family.  Otherwise  there  has  been  no  contact  what- 
ver  between  the  two  groups.  Bergen  Street,  Brooklyn,  has  been  named 
after  this  family. 

For  information  concerning  Anneke  Jans,  who  in  her  day  owned 
the  immensely  valuable  property  now  belonging  to  Trinity  Church,  New 
York;  also  concerning  Anneken  Hendricks  (from  Bergen),  who  was  the 
first  wife  of  Jan  Arentszen  Van  der  Bilt,  the  ancestor  of  the  Vanderbilts, 

8Miss  Anna  Gunsten,  Receiving  Clerk  at  the  Norwegian  Hospital. 
9The  Boroughs  of  Broo\lyn  and  Queens,  Vol.  11,  Henry  Isham  Hazelton,  p. 

The  Invasion  of  Brooklyn 


and  concerning  many  other  Norwegians  who  came  to  New  Amsterdam 
in  the  Dutch  period,  read  Scandinavian  Immigrants  in  New  Yorfr,  1630- 
16J4,  by  Professor  John  O.  Evjen. 

P.  H.  Balling,  Artist  and  Warrior 

The  Frigate  Imperator 
Built  in  Stavanger  in  1876,  the  Most  Expensive  Sailing  Vessel  Ever 
Constructed  in  l^orway 

The  Norwegian  Children's  Home  in  Brooklyn 

Sister  Elisabeth  Fedde  on  Her  Rounds  to  the  Poor 


Professor  and  Author 

Photo:  Vang  Studio. 

The  Attractive  Norwegian  Pavilion  At  the  World's  Fair 
in  New  York  in  1939-1940 




FOR  One  Reason  or  Another,  the  Norwegians  were  dissatisfied  with 
the  Scandinavian  Society  of  1844,  and  in  1871  they  organized  their 
own  association,  the  Norwegian  Society  of  New  York.  This  is  the  first 
strictly  Norwegian  Society  to  be  organized  in  New  York.  Gunnerius 
Gabrielsen,  the  florist,  from  Horten,  was  the  first  president,  and  served 
for  nine  years.  The  following  sixty  men  were  charter  members: 

Chr.  Andersen,  Ole  Ingerman,  Lars  Ihlseng,  pianomaker;  Iver  Lar- 
sen,  Gunnerius  Gabrielsen,  J0rgen  Pedersen,  Ferd.  Hendriksen,  Hans 
Qvam,  Nils  Borgen,  Ole  Andersen,  John  I.  Jensen,  Nils  Jensen,  Gulbran 
L.  Enger,  Hans  Faber,  Nick  Narvesen,  pianomaker;  Dr.  Nils  Nilsen, 
Thorsten  Olsen,  Ole  P.  Pedersen,  W.  Thulin,  Hans  Winge,  James  Ander- 
sen, E.  Amundsen,  Lars  Arneberg,  Peder  Arneberg,  Chr.  Ingebretsen, 
Ludwig  Jensen,  John  Borgen,  Herman  B.  j0rgensen,  Martin  Eriksen, 
Sverre  Lie,  engineer;  Conrad  Narvesen,  Anton  Fossum,  John  Germund- 
sen,  H.  Gulbrandsen,  pianomaker;  A.  C.  Hansen,  Thomas  Halvorsen, 
James  D.  Reymert,  attorney;  H.  O.  Hansen,  August  Reymert,  attorney; 
Nils  Heramb,  I.  A.  Solberg,  C.  Schervig,  John  Stabell,  A.  Simonsen, 
Peder  J.  Wallo,  Christian  0stby,  Chas.  S.  Christiansen,  Peder  Hansen, 
Jens  Nilsen,  Peder  Gunderud,  B.  Wolf,  Casper  D.  Schuberth,  Oscar  Lille- 
skjold,  P.  E.  Faag,  Anton  Pedersen,  Martin  Olsen,  Harry  Nord,  Ole  Mar- 
tin Solberg,  Frederick  Ryning,  Edward  Skjervig.1 

According  to  Reymert,  the  Society  held  its  meetings  in  Schmenger's 
Hall  and  Saloon  on  Third  Avenue  and  16th  Street,  New  York,2  and  the 
objects  were  to  keep  up  interest  in  Norwegian  affairs,  to  maintain  a 
library,  to  promote  social  intercourse  among  the  members,  and  to  come 
together  and  talk  Norwegian.  In  addition,  Gabrielsen  prevailed  on  the 
Society  to  establish  sick  benefits  and  himself  made  a  contribution  of  $500. 
This  is  the  first  attempt  by  Norwegians  in  New  York  to  establish  some 

1List  furnished  by  Edwin  M.  Christiansen,  President  of  the  Society. 
2The  building  is  still  standing  and  is  known  as  Germania  Hall. 



Norwegians  in  New  York 

inexpensive  insurance  as  a  protection  against  illness  and  misfortune.  The 
first  payment  for  sick  benefit  was  made  in  May,  1872.  In  later  years  many 
societies  have  followed  the  example  thus  set  by  the  Norwegian  Society 
and  this  membership  insurance  has  been  a  blessing  in  an  untold  number 
of  cases.  Gabrielsen  had  his  store  at  Broadway  and  nth  Street.  He  was 
a  handsome,  stately  man,  an  elegant  dresser,  and  a  Norwegian  patriot. 
He  died  in  1886. 

When  the  Society  celebrated  its  fiftieth  anniversary  on  March  17, 
1921,  the  following  early  presidents  were  mentioned:  Hilmer  Lee,  Dr. 
Hans  Volckmar,  Otinius  Olsen,  T.  H.  Korsvig,  N.  Narvesen,  August 
Samuelsen,  Charles  J.  Christensen,  Opsahl,  Enoch  Olsen,  Lauritz  Larsen, 
O.  G.  Royen,  Fred  Werner,  Aksel  Vigeland,  C.  J.  Bergskaug,  Alfred 
Andersen,  J.  P.  Christensen.  In  1939,  E.  M.  Christiansen  served  as  presi- 
dent. In  1940,  Hans  C.  Gilbert  was  elected  to  this  office. 

Until  about  1890  the  Norwegian  Society  of  New  York  was  the  only 
one  of  its  kind  in  the  field  and  played  an  important  role,  but  then  com- 
petition began  to  develop  and  organizations  like  the  Norwegian-Ameri- 
can Seamen's  Association,  Court  Leif  Erikson,  and  many  others  claimed 
attention.  The  Norwegian  Society  is,  however,  still  active  and  celebrated 
its  70th  birthday  in  1 94 1 . 

On  the  Seventeenth  of  May,  1889 — seventy-five  years  after  the  events 
of  1 814  at  Eidsvold — the  Norwegian  flag  was  hoisted  over  the  City  Hall, 
New  York,  by  permission  of  Mayor  Thomas  F.  Gilroy  and  the  Board  of 
Aldermen.  The  matter  had  been  arranged  by  a  committee  from  the  Nor- 
wegian Society  of  New  York  consisting  of  j0rgen  Pedersen,  Lars  Ihlseng 
and  O.  H.  Lee. 

Paul  du  Chaillu,  in  his  day  a  renowned  traveler  and  author,  died  in 
New  York  in  June,  1903.  After  his  travels  in  Norway,  he  wrote  a  book 
on  the  Land  of  the  Midnight  Sun.  He  was  an  honorary  member  of  the 
Norwegian  Society  of  New  York.3 

In  1926  the  Society  donated  its  library  of  Norwegian  books  to  the 
Norwegian  Seamen's  Church  in  Brooklyn.  It  had  become  inconvenient 
to  take  care  of  books  properly.  Women  are  now  admitted  to  membership. 

Court  Leif  Erikson  of  the  order  Foresters  of  America  was  organized 
February  27,  1890,  with  Louis  M.  Johnsen  as  the  first  President  and  the 

3Hordis\  Tidende,  July  2,  1903. 



following  members:  Dr.  Hans  Volckmar,  I.  F.  Iversen  (book  dealer),  L. 
M.  Johnsen,  Charles  Andersen,  Chr.  Heidenstr0m,  Ole  Christiansen,  Wil- 
helm  Andersen,  L.  C.  Andersen,  Halvor  Hansen,  Herman  Steen  and 
P.  C.  Pedersen.  The  Court  paid  sick  benefits  and  was  for  many  years  very 
successful  with  a  membership  at  one  time  of  more  than  600  (in  March, 
1909,  608).  In  later  years,  the  Court  has  been  in  keen  competition  with 
a  large  number  of  other  societies  that  have  sprung  up.4 

Louis  (Ludvig)  M.  Johnsen  was  born  in  1862  in  Holmestrand  and 
came  to  Brooklyn  in  1880  where,  from  1890,  he  carried  on  a  trucking  and 
hardware  business.  He  occupied  many  positions  of  trust  in  Norwegian 
societies.  He  had  his  business  out  on  Red  Hook  Point  and,  having  quite 
a  following,  he  was  often  called  "The  King  on  the  Point." 

As  a  curiosity,  it  may  be  mentioned  that  fourteen  Norwegian  cap- 
tains who  were  in  New  York  with  their  ships,  met  August  20,  1889,  in 
the  hall  of  the  Norwegian-American  Seamen's  Association  in  Carroll 
Street,  Brooklyn,  and  organized  the  Norwegian  Sea  Captains'  Associa- 
tion (Norsk  Skibsf0rerforening).  The  office  of  the  Association  was  later 
transferred  to  Oslo.  In  1914,  when  Captain  K.  S.  Irgens  was  president, 
the  organization  celebrated  its  twenty-fifth  anniversary  by  issuing  a  fine 

In  the  Eighties  and  Nineties  the  festivities  arranged  by  Norwegian 
societies  were  often  in  bad  taste,  so  that  Nordisl^  Tidende  on  occasion 
found  it  necessary  to  register  a  protest.  On  February  22,  1895,  the  paper 
wrote  that  "a  stop  must  be  put  to  these  eternal  and  low-down  brawls  at 
our  festivities."  Gradually,  however,  improvement  in  the  atmosphere 
could  be  noticed,  so  that  G.  T.  Ueland  in  1909  stated  that  the  coarse  and 
rowdy  tone  and  the  brawls  had  disappeared.  The  programs  also  became 

This  criticism,  of  course,  also  applied  to  the  celebration  of  the  Seven- 
teenth of  May.  In  the  early  days  these  affairs  generally  took  place  in 
New  York,  often  in  Washington  Park,  and  drew  their  patronage  from 
the  entire  city.  In  the  latter  part  of  the  Eighties,  an  enterprising  Irish 
society  with  eyes  open  for  the  main  chance,  commenced  to  arrange  patri- 
otic Norwegian  festivals  in  Brooklyn,  but  this  game  was  spoiled  when 

*Hordis\  Tidende,  March  2,  1894:  February  21,  1896;  March  25,  1909. 
5Hordis\  Tidende,  February  22,  1895;  November  25,  1909. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

the  Norwegian  Singing  Society  in  1890  took  the  initiative  to  bring  such 
celebrations  under  Norwegian  control. 

For  some  45  years  a  considerable  number  of  the  Norwegian  group 
in  Brooklyn  have  celebrated  the  Seventeenth  of  May  and  to  some  extent 
also  the  Leiv  Eiriksson  Festival  in  Ulmer  Park,  a  large  open  air  establish- 
ment on  the  road  to  Coney  Island  and  facing  Gravesend  Bay.  The  Leiv 
Eiriksson  affairs  were  never  particularly  popular,  but  the  Seventeenth  of 
May  arrangements  would,  under  favorable  circumstances,  draw  several 
thousand  people.  Such  a  crowd,  filled  with  joy  at  the  historic  events  that 
took  place  in  1 814,  would  consume  enormous  quantities  of  beer.  When 
Ola  Norman  had  sent  a  liberal  number  of  drinks  down  the  hatch,  he 
would  say  to  himself:  "I  am  from  Norway  and  I  am  good."  ("Jeg  er  fra 
Norge  og  jeg  er  god"),  and  he  would  start  out  to  look  for  some  person 
with  whom  he  could  have  an  argument.  He  never  failed  to  find  someone 
who  was  willing  to  support  the  other  side  of  the  question.  An  ex-sailor, 
who  had  been  to  Ulmer  Park  many  times,  stated  some  years  ago  to  the 
author  that  the  finest  Seventeenth  of  May  he  ever  had  was  one  year  when 
he  had  seventeen  fights.  He  rubbed  his  hands  in  fond  recollection. 

But,  as  stated  before,  such  coarseness  and  vulgarity  have  gradually 
worn  away  and  there  is,  nowadays,  on  the  part  of  the  committees  in 
charge,  an  evident  desire  to  make  the  festivities  as  dignified  and  interest- 
ing as  possible.  Ulmer  Park  has  disappeared  and  will  no  longer  serve  as 
a  stamping  ground  for  patriotic  Norwegians.  For  many  years  the  Nor- 
wegian National  League  has  had  large  attendance  at  its  Seventeenth  of 
May  and  other  festivals  in  the  New  York  State  Armory  at  the  foot  of 
Fifty-second  Street,  Brooklyn.  The  Day  is  also  celebrated  extensively  in 
churches  and  by  numerous  other  organizations.  And  if,  nowadays,  there 
is  a  valid  objection  to  the  way  in  which  the  Seventeenth  is  celebrated,  it 
consists  mainly  in  this,  that  instead  of  being  united  we  are  altogether 
too  scattered  on  that  day. 


During  the  Eighties  the  Norwegian  emigration  to  New  York  was 
so  heavy  that  by  1890  there  were  8,602  Norwegians  in  New  York.  This 
naturally  created  a  demand  for  more  associations  to  take  care  of  the  social 
needs  and  other  requirements  of  the  Colony.  In  October,  1888,  Captain 
Magnus  Andersen,  superintendent  of  the  Scandinavian  Sailors'  Temper- 



ance  Home  (now  the  Norwegian  Sailors'  Home),  took  steps  to  organize 
the  Norwegian-American  Seamen's  Association.  The  incorporators  were 
Nils  Olsen,  August  Reymert,  Helmin  Johnsen,  Orgenius  R0yen  and 
Magnus  Andersen. 

The  original  idea  seems  to  have  been  to  secure  a  large  tract  of  land 
on  the  outskirts  of  the  city  and  have  the  Norwegian  sailors  settle  there 
in  a  group.  Nothing,  however,  came  of  this  hazy  idea  and  the  Associa- 
tion became  a  regular  membership  organization  with  sick  benefits,  etc. 

The  real  start  was  made  at  a  mass  meeting  in  the  Athenaeum  on 
Atlantic  Avenue,  on  April  6,  1889,  from  which  date  the  Association 
counts  its  existence.  The  speakers  on  this  occasion  were  Captain  Magnus 
Andersen  and  Professor  Hjalmar  Hjort  Boyesen,  and  Nils  Olsen  became 
the  first  president.  Among  others  who  held  this  office  in  the  earlier  years 
may  be  mentioned  Capt.  P.  Berge,  Capt.  Louis  Blix,  Capt.  C.  Ulleness, 
G.  T.  Ueland,  Charles  Gustav  Olsen,  Capt.  E.  Singdalsen,  Chr.  Weltzien, 
Jens  Olsen,  Harry  Nelson,  Enok  Olsen,  Juell  Bie,  Chr.  Nilsen,  Chas. 
Lyngved,  Gudmund  Hoelseth  and  L.  M.  Johnsen. 

The  Association,  which  is  now  fifty  years  old,  has  been  a  solid  and 
influential  one  and  has  taken  the  lead  in  many  worthy  enterprises.  The 
first  celebration  of  the  discovery  of  America  by  Leiv  Eiriksson  was  ar- 
ranged by  the  Association  in  1890.  In  September  of  the  next  year  the 
Seamen's  Association  and  Court  Leif  Erikson  sponsored  the  festival  with 
Prof.  Rasmus  B.  Anderson  as  the  main  speaker.  On  this  occasion  the 
first  Norwegian  parade  in  Brooklyn  was  held  with  800  persons  partici- 
pating. In  October,  1893,  the  Association  cut  "the  union"  out  of  its 
Norwegian  silk  flag  and  sent  the  clipping  to  the  Norwegian  Storting,  an 
action  which  caused  considerable  excitement  in  those  hectic  days,  when 
feelings  ran  high  between  Norway  and  Sweden.  It  may  be  mentioned  as 
a  curiosity  that  the  president's  gavel,  presented  to  the  Association  by  Mr. 
Ole  Hansen  Gokstad,  is  made  of  wood  from  the  original  Viking  ship 
that  had  been  buried  in  the  ground  for  more  than  1,000  years.  The  Asso- 
ciation took  part  in  paying  for  a  beautiful  tablet  presented  to  Prof.  Eben 
Horsford  for  his  work  for  the  recognition  of  Leiv  Eiriksson  as  the  dis- 
coverer of  America.  Due  to  this  early  agitation  by  the  Association,  Leiv's 
Day  has  for  fifty  years  now  been  celebrated  in  Brooklyn  every  Fall.  As 
a  sick  benefit  association,  the  organization  has  likewise  rendered  good 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

The  Norwegian-American  Seamen's  Association  is  closely  allied  with 
the  Sporting  Club  Gj0a,  and  together  they  own  the  Gj0a  Hall  on  Eighth 
Avenue  and  64th  Street,  Brooklyn.  Gj0a  was  organized  in  191 1. 

In  1889,  the  mate  of  a  vessel  in  New  York  harbor,  Thorsen  by  name, 
shot  and  killed  a  boarding  house  keeper  in  defense  of  himself  and  his  ves- 
sel. He  was  indicted  for  murder,  but  the  Norwegian-American  Seamen's 
Association,  which  had  just  been  established,  moved  heaven  and  earth  in 
his  defense,  with  the  result  that  Thorsen  was  acquitted. 


It  may  be  said  that  the  numerous  Norwegian  societies  have  served 
useful  purposes,  but  it  is  nevertheless  a  fact  that  the  Colony  has  had  more 
societies  than  were  actually  needed.  The  difficulty  that  some  Norwegians 
have  in  getting  along  together  has  often  led  to  the  duplication  of  socie- 
ties of  similar  aims  and  purposes.  This  has  resulted  in  a  waste  of  energy 
and  talent.  Fewer,  and  consequently  larger,  societies  could  function  bet- 
ter and  with  more  economy  and  efficiency.  This  is  self-evident,  as  a  small 
organization  requires  about  the  same  set-up  of  officers  as  a  larger  group. 

The  great  increase  in  the  Norwegian  population  throughout  the 
Eighties  encouraged  the  establishment  of  many  new  organizations.  These 
served  desirable  purposes,  provided  social  contacts  for  new  people  in  a 
strange  land,  created  useful  interests  outside  the  immediate  family  circle, 
and  also  offered  opportunities  for  a  modest  insurance,  in  cases  of  sickness 
and  death.  The  Norwegian  Sailor's  Home  (1887),  the  Norwegian- 
American  Seamen's  Association  (1889),  the  Norwegian  Singing  Society 
of  Brooklyn  (1890)  and  Court  Leif  Erikson  (1890)  have  already  been 
mentioned,  but  there  were  many  others.  One  of  the  oldest  Norwegian 
organizations  in  Brooklyn  is  the  Ladies'  Society  Hj0rdis,  which  was  start- 
ed in  April,  1893,  and  now  is  about  46  years  old.  Hj0rdis  pays  sick  bene- 
fits and  has  every  year  of  its  existence  taken  part  in  the  celebration  of 
the  Seventeenth  of  May  and  Leiv  Eiriksson  Day.  It  has  also  every  year 
assisted  at  the  fairs  for  the  Norwegian  Children's  Home. 

Another  ladies'  society,  Norge,  has  somewhat  similar  functions  as 
Hj0rdis  and  has  also  been  active  in  patriotic  and  charitable  undertakings. 
It  is  less  than  a  year  younger  than  Hj0rdis,  having  been  started  in  Febru- 
ary, 1894.  Of  the  founders,  only  two  women,  Mrs.  Bolette  Nilsen  and 
Mrs.  Nina  Olsen,  were  living  in  1940. 



The  Norwegian  Turn  Society  dates  from  August,  1892,  and  perhaps 
owes  its  existence  more  to  Charles  F.  Ericksen  than  to  any  other  single 
person.  Ericksen  was  an  excellent  turner  and  wrestler  himself  and  was 
well  qualified  as  a  leader  of  such  a  society.  He  was  born  in  T0nsberg 
in  1875,  and  came  to  New  York  in  1889.  To  start  with,  the  Turn  Society 
paid  most  attention  to  turning  (gymnastics)  and  it  had  a  number  of 
outstanding  members,  such  as  Magnus  Larsen,  Louis  Aldrin,  Eddie 
Christensen,  Arvid  Mevik,  Harry  Martinsen,  Teddy  Mathisen,  Fridtjof 
Andersen,  Trygve  Andreassen,  Bjarne  j0rgensen,  Peter  Hoel,  V.  Winsjan- 
sen,  T.  j0rgensen,  A.  Larsen,  P.  Taxeraas,  T.  Hansen  and  Hjalmar  An- 
dersen. Bjarne  j0rgensen  represented  the  United  States  in  turning  at  the 
Olympic  Games  in  Antwerp  in  1920;  Peter  Hoel  represented  Norway. 
In  1916,  a  group  of  Norwegian  Turners  won  the  Metropolitan  champion- 
ship. In  wrestling  the  Turn  Society  could  muster  such  names  as  Jack 
Gundersen,  Harry  Hansen,  Nils  Nilsen,  Chas.  Eng,  Charles  F.  Ericksen 
and  Bernhoff  Hansen.  The  Turn  Society  also  took  up  boxing,  football 
and  other  branches  of  sport.  However,  most  of  the  old  members  have 
dropped  out  and  at  present  (1940)  the  Society  is  fighting  for  its  existence. 

Tug-of-war  is  a  sport  which  for  many  years  was  very  popular  among 
the  Norwegians.  In  December,  1891,  an  international  tug-of-war  took 
place  in  the  old  Madison  Square  Garden  with  seven  nationalities  partici- 
pating. The  Norwegian  team  consisted  of  Harry  Randall,  Captain;  Chris- 
tensen, Pederson,  Samuelsen,  Thompson,  Andersen,  Harris,  Pedersen, 
Blix,  Weltzien  and  Nelson.  The  tug-of-war  lasted  one  week  and  the  Nor- 
wegians won  against  all  the  other  teams  and  considered  themselves  as 
champions,  when  by  a  trick  they  were  compelled  to  repeat  one  bout  with- 
out sufficient  rest.  The  result  was  that  they  were  only  awarded  fourth 
prize,  which  caused  great  indignation. 

The  Sporting  Club,  Gj0a,  has  for  many  years  been  active  in  football 
and  other  sports. 

South  Brooklyn  Norwegian  Sick  Benefit  Society  was  organized  in 
1887,  and  was  for  many  years  an  active  and  highly  respected  organization. 

Bergen  Association,  Inc.,  is  a  social  club,  and  dates  from  August, 

Time  and  again,  disagreeable  and  unfortunate  disputes  arose  as  to 
who  should  arrange  this  and  who  should  direct  that.  And  so — in  order 
to  maintain  some  order  and  supervision — the  Norwegian  Central  Com- 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

mittee  was  organized  in  February,  1894.  But  although  each  society  was 
represented,  the  Central  Committee  soon  fell  to  pieces.  The  various  or- 
ganizations found  it  hard  to  surrender  some  of  their  individual  authority. 
In  1905,  the  idea  was  revived  in  the  form  of  the  Norwegian  National 
League  for  New  York  and  vicinity.  The  League  is  now  thirty-five  years 
old  and  has  become  a  fixed  pan  of  Norwegian  community  life.  The 
League  acts  as  representative  of  the  Norwegian  element,  arranges  Seven- 
teenth of  May,  Leiv  Eiriksson,  and  other  festivals,  and  supports  charitable 
institutions  to  the  best  of  its  ability. 

When  the  Norwegian  National  League  was  organized  in  1905  its 
membership  consisted  of  the  following  societies:  The  Norwegian  Turn 
Society,  Norsemen  Cycle  Club,  Viking  Athletic  Club,  Skytterlaget  Tor- 
denskjold,  Norwegian-American  Seamen's  Association,  Ladies'  Society 
Hj0rdis,  Ladies'  Society  Norge,  Norwegian  Social  Club,  Fjeldblomsten, 
Norumbega,  The  Norwegian  Singing  Society,  Ekko  Singing  Society, 
The  Christian  Male  Chorus,  Midnatsolen  Lodge,  I.O.G.T.,  Norge  Lodge, 
I.O.G.T.,  Breidablik  Lodge,  I.O.G.T.,  Det  norske  Broderbaand,  South 
Brooklyn  Norwegian  Sick  Benefit  Society,  The  Norwegian  Club,  Nidaros 
Social  Club,  Washington  Lodge,  I.O.G.T.,  and  possibly  Dovre  Lodge, 

Only  six  of  the  societies  mentioned  exist  today,  but  many  others 
have  taken  their  places.6 

Miss  Helene  Olausen,  well  known  in  the  service  of  the  Norwegian 
National  League,  received  the  St.  Olav  Medal  in  April,  1940.  She  was 
born  in  Oslo  and  came  to  New  York  about  1904. 

Cand.  mag.  Peter  Groth  was  for  many  years  active  in  Norwegian 
affairs  in  New  York,  when  he  was  in  the  service  of  the  New  York  Life 
Insurance  Company  as  a  language  expert.  In  1894  he  published  a  Nor- 
wegian and  a  Norwegian-Danish  grammar  through  the  publishing  house 
of  D.  C.  Heath  &  Company,  Boston.  When  the  Norwegian  Club — Det 
Norske  Selskap — was  established  in  1904,  Dr.  Groth  became  its  first 
president.  After  a  residence  in  New  York  of  some  25  years,  Dr.  Groth 
was  transferred  to  the  Paris  office  of  the  New  York  Life  Insurance  Co. 

6This  list  has  been  furnished  by  Mr.  G.  T.  Ueland  who  states  that  some  of 
these  societies  may  have  become  members  at  a  somewhat  later  date  than  at  the 
actual  founders'  meeting  of  the  League. 



The  Norsemen  Cycle  Club  was  organized  in  1896,  and  Norumbega 
— a  social  club — was  started  in  1899.  Both  survived  a  few  years  and  then 
died.  Two  singing  societies,  the  Norwegian  Glee  Club  and  Fjeldljom, 
bobbed  up  in  1896  but  died  quickly. 

The  Norwegian  Club  (Det  Norske  Selskap)  grew,  in  a  sense,  out 
of  an  engineers'  and  architects'  society,  which  was  started  in  New  York 
in  1902.  It  proved  impossible,  however,  for  a  club  of  such  limited  mem- 
bership to  exist  and,  in  1904,  a  committee  consisting  of  P.  M.  Ericksen, 
George  Smith,  Emil  Bie  and  T.  Fliflet  went  to  work  to  organize  a  club 
on  a  broader  basis.  The  founders'  meeting  was  held  at  the  Hotel  Im- 
perial, October  13,  1904.  Forty  men  were  present,  and  Dr.  Peter  Groth 
became  the  first  president  of  Det  Norske  Selskap.  For  the  next  two  years 
the  club  got  along  with  a  reading  room  at  the  Hotel  Imperial,  but  the 
membership  more  than  doubled,  and  in  1906,  quarters  were  secured  at 
387  Clinton  Street,  where  the  club  remained  for  six  or  seven  years. 
For  two  years,  Dr.  Peter  A.  Reque  was  president.  In  1913,  during  the 
presidency  of  Th.  Langland  Thompson,  the  house  at  7  St.  Marks  Avenue 
was  purchased.  This  became  the  home  of  the  club  for  the  next  five  years. 
By  1 91 7  this  place  also  had  become  too  small,  chiefly  for  the  reason  that 
the  World  War  brought  many  young  Norwegian  business  people  to  New 
York.  It  was  decided  to  reorganize  the  club,  and  the  property  at  117 
Columbia  Heights  was  bought  and  remodeled  into  convenient  and  com- 
fortable club  quarters.  The  club  enjoyed  some  successful  and  prosperous 
years,  with  Erling  Christophersen  and  Oluf  Kiaer  as  Presidents.  The  pur- 
chase of  this  house  was  made  possible  by  a  loan  of  $30,000,  a  mortgage 
without  interest  and  unlimited  in  time,  from  Christopher  Hannevig. 
When  Hannevig  got  into  difficulties,  the  club  bought  the  mortgage  from 
his  estate  for  $1,000. 

The  Norwegian  Club  has  had  its  own  quarters  there,  at  117  Colum- 
bia Heights,  for  more  than  twenty  years.  The  clubhouse  has  always  been 
a  very  attractive  place  for  festivities  and  gatherings  of  various  kinds,  and 
it  is  unfortunate  that  the  hard  times  have  put  a  damper  on  the  Club's 

A  society  exists  for  people  from  the  northern  part  of  Norway,  Tr0n- 
deren,  which — as  the  name  implies — limits  its  membership  to  people 
from  Trondheim  and  surrounding  territory. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Lerken,  a  mixed  chorus,  was  organized  in  1923,  and  lasted  for  many 
years.  Windingstad  was  conductor  and  Helene  Olausen  was  president 
for  a  long  time. 

Pride  of  Leif  Erikson,  Companion  of  the  Foresters  of  America,  was 
organized  in  1910,  and  Den  Nordenfjeldske  Forening,  191 1. 

The  Scandinavian  Chess  and  Bridge  Club  of  Brooklyn  was  or- 
ganized in  1925  and  has  had,  on  an  average,  35  to  40  members. 

The  Norwegian  Ladies'  Club  was  organized  in  1912  and  was,  dur- 
ing the  World  War,  affiliated  with  the  American  Red  Cross.  After  the 
war,  the  Club  made  a  change  in  its  activities  and  its  main  object  nowa- 
days is  to  clothe  a  large  number  of  children  at  Christmas  time.  The  Club 
is  also  a  supporter  of  Camp  Norge  and  of  other  laudable  activities.  Letten 
Conradi,  from  Sandefjord,  has  for  many  years  been  an  excellent  presi- 
dent of  the  Club.  During  the  intensive  drive  for  help  to  Finland,  the  Club 
raised  money  as  well  as  knitted  sweaters  to  be  sent  across  to  the  suffering 
people.  Later  the  Club  also  raised  funds  for  housing  in  the  devastated 
sections  of  Norway. 

The  Norsemen  Assembly,  Inc.,  had  its  origin  in  the  Norwegian  Na- 
tional League  and  was  incorporated  for  the  purpose  of  erecting  a  much- 
needed  meeting  hall  for  Norwegian  societies,  meetings,  festivals,  etc. 
Many  societies  and  private  individuals  purchased  stock  and  for  a  while 
the  situation  looked  favorable.  A  property  was  purchased  in  50th  Street, 
Brooklyn.  And  later,  when  this  place  proved  unsuitable,  it  was  sold  at  a 
handsome  profit.  On  the  next  purchase — a  plot  of  land  on  Eighth  Avenue 
Avenue  and  67th  Street — the  Norsemen  Assembly  came  to  grief.  In  the 
early  Thirties  the  whole  affair  went  up  in  smoke,  with  a  considerable  loss 
to  everybody  concerned.7 

It  is  a  peculiar  fact  that,  as  a  rule,  the  Norwegian  societies  have 
found  it  difficult  to  establish  themselves  as  owners  of  property,  while 
Norwegian  churches  have  had  no  such  difficulty  to  contend  with. 

Norsemen  Lodge  of  the  Masonic  Order  was  organized  in  1909  and 
has  during  the  thirty  years  of  its  existence  displayed  much  vigor  and 
initiative,  particularly  along  charitable  lines.  The  Lodge  has,  for  in- 
stance, always  taken  part  in  the  annual  fairs  of  the  Norwegian  Children's 
Home  of  Brooklyn  (through  a  Ladies'  Auxiliary),  and  has  in  this  way 
made  substantial  contributions  to  the  support  of  this  institution.  It  has 

'Circular  issued  by  the  Assembly. 



given  aid  to  many  other  worthy  endeavors.  Attorney  Rodney  T.  Mar- 
tinsen,  C.  A.  Hanssen,  Julius  N.  Hoff,  S.  J.  Windvand,  Axel  E.  Pedersen, 
Oscar  Halvorsen,  Knut  Vang,  Charles  E.  Larsen,  and  the  flyers,  Bernt 
Balchen  and  Thor  Solberg,  are  among  the  prominent  members  of  the 
Norsemen  Lodge,  which  is  composed  exclusively  of  members  of  Nor- 
wegian birth  or  descent. 

In  1924  Axel  E.  Pedersen  performed  a  real  feat  by  collecting  more 
than  $6,000  for  the  Children's  Home. 

The  Order  Sons  of  Norway  was  organized  in  Minneapolis  in  1895, 
but  it  did  not  make  its  entrance  into  New  York  until  sixteen  years  later. 
It  so  happened  that  when  the  Grand  Lodge  of  Sons  of  Norway  decided 
to  take  up  work  in  the  eastern  field,  the  Knights  of  the  White  Cross 
(Riddere  af  det  Hvite  Kors)  in  Chicago  also  became  interested  and  in 
1910  sent  its  president,  Carl  Salvesen,  to  New  York.  There  was  then  for 
a  time  quite  a  competition  between  the  two  Orders.  Salvesen  succeeded 
in  establishing  lodges  on  Staten  Island,  in  Harlem,  and  in  Brooklyn.  But 
the  Sons  of  Norway  was  a  much  stronger  organization  and  finally  be- 
came dominant.  The  R.  H.  K.  Order  is  now  part  of  Sons  of  Norway. 
The  oldest  and  largest  lodge  in  Brooklyn  is  Fserder,  which  was  organized 
in  191 1  by  G.  A.  R0berg  and  has  about  600  members.  Of  presidents  in 
Faerder  may  be  mentioned  G.  A.  R0berg,  Fred  Werner,  O.  C.  Christo- 
pher, Andrew  Wider0,  Johs.  M.  Jacobsen,  Sigurd  Jensen,  Jens  Skogen, 
Hans  Fossum,  Chris.  Sollid,  Carl  W.  Refsland  (who  also  is  organizer  for 
the  Order)  and  Chris.  Torgersen.  Major  S.  J.  Arnesen  has  been  president 
of  the  Eastern  District.  For  1941  Einar  Galschjodt  is  President  of  the 
District.  Klippen  in  the  Bronx,  Fram  in  Harlem,  and  Freya  in  Jersey 
City,  are  also  among  the  veteran  lodges  in  this  locality.  The  Order  has 
made  great  progress  in  this  field,  so  that  there  are  22  lodges  in  New  York 
and  immediate  vicinity.  Included  in  this  number  are  three  previously 
independent  societies,  the  Stavanger  Club,  Bj0rgvin,  Inc.,  and  Arbeideren, 
which  recently  have  joined  the  Order. 

Sons  of  Norway  is  now  the  largest  and  most  influential  Norwegian 
organization  in  the  United  States,  outside  the  Norwegian  Lutheran 
Church  of  America,  and  consists  of  some  300  lodges,  with  a  membership 
of  more  than  22,000  Norwegians. 

For  more  than  forty  years,  Laurits  Stavnheim,  Grand  Secretary,  was 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

one  of  the  strong  men  in  the  Order.  He  died  in  Minneapolis  in  1940,  at 
the  age  of  76. 

The  principal  aims  of  the  Order  are:  To  unite  in  a  fraternal  organi- 
zation men  and  women  of  Norwegian  birth  or  descent;  to  preserve  the 
best  of  their  racial  heritage;  to  promote  love  and  loyalty  to  the  country 
of  their  adoption;  to  assist  the  members  and  their  families  in  case  of  sick- 
ness or  other  needs;  and  to  provide  life  insurance  for  its  members. 

There  is  one  lodge,  Urd,  of  the  Order  Daughters  of  Norway  in 
Brooklyn  and  one,  Freidig,  in  New  York. 


The  American-Scandinavian  Foundation  owes  its  existence  to  the 
Danish-born  manufacturer,  Niels  Poulson,  who  with  his  partner,  C.  M. 
Eger,  owned  the  Hecla  Iron  Works  in  Brooklyn.  In  his  will,  Poulson 
left  about  half  a  million  dollars  to  the  Foundation,  which  was  established 
in  191 1  and  since  1932  has  had  its  own  office  building  at  116  East  64th 
Street,  New  York.  Along  cultural  lines  it  forms  a  very  important  link 
between  the  United  States  and  the  Scandinavian  countries,  carrying  on 
an  exchange  of  students,  an  elaborate  information  bureau  and  a  publish- 
ing business,  including  books  and  a  quarterly  magazine,  the  American- 
Scandinavian  Review,  edited  by  Hanna  Astrup  Larsen.  Dr.  Henry  God- 
dard  Leach,  who  was  born  in  1880,  has  served  either  as  secretary  or  as 
president  during  most  of  this  time.  At  present,  he  holds  both  positions. 
He  is  Commander  of  the  Order  of  St.  Olav,  and  has  also  been  decorated 
by  Sweden  and  Denmark.  He  is  the  author  of  Scandinavia  of  the 
Scandinavians  and  Angevin  Britain  and  Scandinavia,  and  was  for  many 
years  editor  of  the  magazine  Forum. 

As  an  aid  to  American  libraries  and  individual  readers  the  American- 
Scandinavian  Foundation  has  published  a  list  of  five  hundred  books  by 
Scandinavians  and  about  Scandinavia,  which  is  available  in  English. 

For  over  a  quarter  of  a  century,  the  American-Scandinavian  Founda- 
tion has  carried  on  a  consistent  program  of  publication,  aiming  to  present 
in  English  the  classics  of  Northern  literature,  as  well  as  standard  books 
of  information  on  Northern  culture.  The  catalogue  of  the  Foundation 
includes  between  fifty  and  sixty  volumes. 

Hanna  Astrup  Larsen,  born  in  Decorah,  Iowa,  daughter  of  Dr.  Laur. 



Larsen,  the  first  president  of  Luther  College,  has  been  editor  of  Pacific- 
Posten  in  San  Francisco  and  the  Norwegian- American  in  New  York.  For 
about  twenty-five  years  she  has  been  literary  secretary  of  the  American- 
Scandinavian  Foundation  and  editor  of  the  American-Scandinavian  Re- 
view, positions  she  has  filled  with  great  distinction  and  ability.  Miss  Lar- 
sen  is  also  the  author  of  excellent  biographies  of  Selma  Lagerl0f  and 
Knut  Hamsun,  and  has  translated  Marie  Grubbe  and  Niels  Lyhne  by 
J.  P.  Jacobsen.  She  has  the  honorary  title  Litt.D.  from  Augustana  Col- 
lege, the  Swedish  Vasa  Medal,  the  Norwegian  Medal  of  Merit  in  Gold, 
and  the  Danish  Medal  of  Merit  of  the  first  class. 

The  Norwegian-American  Historical  Association  was  organized  in 
1925,  and  has  during  the  fifteen  years  of  its  existence  done  a  most  excel- 
lent piece  of  work  in  getting  into  print  the  sagas  of  the  Norwegians  in 
America.  Some  twenty  books  have  already  been  published,  depicting 
various  phases  of  Norwegian-American  life.  And  the  Association  prom- 
ises to  be  still  more  active  in  the  future.  Arthur  Andersen  is  president, 
Birger  Osland,  treasurer,  and  J.  j0rgen  Thompson,  Northfield,  Minn., 
secretary  of  the  Association,  which  has  about  800  members.  Dr.  Theodore 
C.  Blegen,  University  of  Minnesota,  is  the  managing  editor.  Among  the 
books  published  by  the  Association  is  Professor  Knut  Gjerset's  Norwe- 
gian Seamen  in  American  Waters,  and  Professor  Blegen's  Norwegian 
Migration  to  America,  in  two  volumes. 

Nordmanns-Forbundet  —  the  League  of  Norwegians  —  was  formed 
in  1907  and  aims  to  maintain  and  strengthen  the  contact  and  the  cultural 
bonds  between  the  Norwegians  in  and  outside  of  Norway.  It  has  mem- 
bers all  over  the  world,  but  most  of  the  members  outside  of  Norway  are 
to  be  found  in  the  United  States.  The  League  has  no  political  aspect 
whatever.  The  president  of  the  League  is  C.  J.  Hambros,  President  of 
the  Norwegian  Storting;  Arne  Kildal  is  the  general  secretary;  Ludvig 
Saxe  is  the  editor  of  the  magazine  Nordmanns-Forbundet,  which  is  pub- 
lished monthly  and  is  the  connecting  link  between  the  members.  In  the 
course  of  the  years  the  organization  has  sent  many  prominent  representa- 
tives to  America,  such  as  Dr.  F.  G.  Gade,  Minister  Wm.  Morgenstierne, 
C.  J.  Hambro,  Colonel  Angell,  Arne  Kildal  and  Ludvig  Saxe. 

8In  1940  Mr.  Hambro  moved  to  the  United  States,  because  of  the  German  occu- 
pation of  Norway. 



SOMEWHERE  in  His  Life  of  Greece,  Will  Durant  says  that  "To  write 
the  history  of  Greece  without  dissipating  the  interest  is  a  task  of  much 
difficulty,  because  there  is  no  constant  unity  or  fixed  center  to  which  the 
action  or  aim  can  be  related."  This  is  also  true  of  a  history  of  the  Nor- 
wegians in  New  York,  which  deals  with  a  community  within  a  commu- 
nity and  where  there  is  no  definite  line  to  follow.  In  a  sense,  the  whole 
history  consists  of  numerous  more  or  less  unrelated  incidents  or  actions, 
except,  perhaps,  as  regards  charitable  institutions.  Along  this  line,  the 
Norwegians  of  New  York  seem  to  have  had  the  definite  policy  to  provide 
themselves  with  institutions  of  various  kinds,  so  as  to  be  able  to  take  care 
of  their  own,  and  not  be  a  burden  on  others.  This  is,  of  course,  a  very 
laudable  civic  spirit  and  testifies  to  the  independent  feeling  of  the  Norwe- 
gians. In  most  of  the  institutions  controlled  by  Norwegians,  the  church 
element  has  been  the  driving  and  constructive  force. 


The  first  and  also  the  largest  charitable  institution  founded  by  Nor- 
wegians in  the  East  is  the  Norwegian  Lutheran  Deaconesses'  Home  and 
Hospital  of  Brooklyn,  which  made  its  appearance  in  1883.  Thoughtful 
people  had  already  for  some  time  realized  that  an  organization  for  poor 
relief  among  the  Norwegians  of  Brooklyn  was  very  much  needed.  It  was 
also  felt  that  some  arrangement  should  be  made  to  that  sick  seamen  could 
be  visited  on  board  ship  in  the  harbor  or  in  hospitals  in  the  city.  A  group 
of  people,  consisting  of  Mrs.  Anna  B0rs,  wife  of  the  Consul  General,  the 
Seamen's  Pastors,  Andreas  Mortensen  and  Carsten  Hansteen,  the  Rev. 
C.  S.  Everson,  Gabriel  Fedde,  and  others  decided,  therefore,  to  ask  the 
Norwegian  Deaconess,  Sister  Elisabeth,  from  the  Deaconess  House  in 
Oslo,  to  come  to  New  York  and  inaugurate  the  work.  She  accepted  the 
call  and  thus  became  the  first  Lutheran  Deaconess  in  America.  The  first 
organizing  meeting  was  held  in  the  home  of  Pastor  Hansteen,  122  Second 


Charitable  Institutions 


Place,  Brooklyn,  on  April  19,  1883.  A  small  house,  to  serve  as  a  station, 
was  rented  next  to  the  Norwegian  Seamen's  Church  in  Pioneer  Street, 
and  here  we  have  the  modest  beginning  of  an  institution  which  during 
the  years  was  to  acquire  considerable  size  and  fame.  The  name  at  first 
was  the  Norwegian  Relief  Society. 

It  may  be  taken  for  granted  that  the  need  for  assistance  is  greater 
in  the  large  cities  than  anywhere  in  the  country;  and  as  New  York  with 
its  seven  millions  of  inhabitants  is  the  largest  populated  city  on  this  con- 
tinent, it  may  be  assumed  that  we  have  here  more  actual  distress  to  con- 
tend with  than  is  to  be  met  elsewhere.  Dire  poverty  and  suffering  always 
seem  to  walk  hand  in  hand  with  large  accumulations  of  riches.  Where 
the  race  is  to  the  swift  and  competition  is  keen  and  unmerciful,  there  will 
always  be  those  who  cannot  keep  the  pace.  Lack  of  a  definite  trade  and 
insufficient  knowledge  of  the  language  of  the  country  may  tend  to  keep 
people  in  the  lowest  wage  brackets  and  on  the  verge  of  family  disaster. 
Automobile  and  other  accidents  of  every  kind  and  description  are  of 
frequent  occurrence.  Besides,  we  have  all  those  cases  of  poor  health,  sick- 
ness, improvidence,  intemperance,  moral  laxity,  disruption  of  family  life, 
etc.,  which  make  it  necessary  for  organized  groups  to  step  in  and  relieve 
the  distress  of  the  individual. 

The  need  of  a  hospital  under  separate  control  soon  became  press- 
ing, however,  and  only  two  years  after  the  organization  of  the  Norwegian 
Relief  Society  (1885),  a  small  hospital  was  established  in  a  rented  frame 
house  at  Fourth  Avenue  and  Ninth  Street.  When  this  in  turn  became 
too  small,  vacant  land  was  purchased  at  Fourth  Avenue  and  46th  Street, 
and  in  this  locality  the  institution  was  built  and  has  been  ever  since.  The 
first  building  erected  there — a  large  frame  structure  with  space  for  thirty 
patients — was  opened  in  1889.  In  commemoration  a  bronze  plaque  was 
put  on  the  house  in  1939,  when  it  had  seen  fifty  years  of  service.  John 
Henry  Everson,  still  living,  was  the  first  to  be  born  in  this  old  structure. 
Today  nearly  a  thousand  babies  are  annually  brought  into  the  world  in 
the  Maternity  Department  of  the  Norwegian  Hospital. 

When  the  corporation  in  1892  changed  its  name  from  the  Norwegian 
Relief  Society  to  the  Norwegian  Lutheran  Deaconesses'  Home  and  Hos- 
pital, the  Board  of  Managers  made  the  following  statement:  "Said  name 
signifies  to  us  the  duty  which  we  as  Norwegians  and  as  Lutherans  owe 
to  the  community  and  the  country  in  which  we  live.  If  we  share  the 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

blessings  of  our  adopted  land,  it  is  certainly  also  our  duty  to  help  carry 
its  burdens  and  to  shrink  from  no  responsibility  resting  upon  us." 

The  following  have  served  as  president:  Rev.  A.  Mortensen,  1883- 
85;  Mrs.  Anna  B0rs,  1886-89;  Rev-  Kristian  K.  Saarheim,  1890;  C. 
Ullenss,  1891-99;  Rev.  H.  M.  Hegge,  1900-03;  Jens  Skougaard,  1904-06; 
Rev.  Stener  Turmo,  1907-08;  Emil  Ericksen,  1909-1916;  Rev.  Lauritz 
Larsen,  1917-22;  Dr.  A.  N.  Rygg,  1923-1938;  Peter  Berge,  from  1939. 
Rev.  C.  O.  Pedersen  has  rendered  excellent  service  as  Rector  and  Superin- 
tendent since  191 9.  Sofie  Torkildsen,  one  of  the  old  Sisters  in  the  Institu- 
tion and  born  in  Lillesand,  Norway,  became  Head  Sister  in  1939,  succeed- 
ing the  beloved  Sister  Lina  Brechlin,  who  after  32  years  of  service  died 
in  November,  1938.  Sister  Lina  was  an  honorary  member  of  the  Institu- 
tion and  the  Medal  of  Merit  in  Gold  was  bestowed  upon  her  by  King 
Haakon  of  Norway  in  193 1.  The  Sisters  are  Olette  Berntsen,  missionary 
in  Soudan;  Bergithe  Nielsen,  missionary  in  China;  Mathilde  Gravdahl, 
Principal  of  the  School  of  Nursing;  Ingeborg  Ness,  Leonora  Pedersen, 
Ananda  Birkeness  at  Camp  Norge;  Aasta  Forland,  Anne  Olsen,  Petra 
Granerud,  Margareth  Hansen. 

An  excellent  picture  of  Sister  Elisabeth  Fedde  appears  on  an  artistic 
calendar  for  1941,  published  by  Johnson  &  Johnson,  manufacturers  of 
surgical  dressings,  New  Brunswick,  N.  J.  Sister  Elisabeth  is  described  as 
one  of  twelve  women,  including  Florence  Nightingale,  Lillian  D.  Wald 
and  Clara  Barton,  who  have  made  important  contributions  to  nursing 
throughout  the  world.  She  helped  to  establish  the  Norwegian  Lutheran 
Deaconesses'  Home  and  Hospital  in  Brooklyn  and  the  Lutheran  Deacon- 
esses' Home  and  Hospital  in  Minneapolis.  One  of  her  friends,  Ingeborg 
Sponland,  helped  to  organize  a  similar  institution  in  Chicago. 

Two  hospital  superintendents,  John  Olsen  of  the  Richmond  Mem- 
orial Hospital  on  Staten  Island  and  Birger  Foss  of  the  Knickerbocker 
Hospital  in  Manhattan,  have  had  their  training  in  hospital  administra- 
tion at  the  Norwegian  Hospital. 

Up  through  the  years  many  new  buildings  and  additions  have  been 
erected  in  order  to  meet  the  demands  from  the  public.  From  9  beds  in 
1885,  the  hospital  grew  to  30  in  1889,  to  90  in  1904,  to  165  in  1915  and 
to  200  in  1923.  Some  25,000  people  are  treated  yearly  in  the  hospital 
proper  and  its  various  clinics.  The  Institution  started,  as  will  be  remem- 
bered, as  a  poor  relief  society,  and  it  must  be  emphasized  that  this  branch 

Charitable  Institutions 


of  the  work  has  never  been  neglected,  but,  on  the  contrary,  has  undergone 
a  great  expansion.  The  social  service  department  of  the  hospital  has  come 
to  be  regarded  as  the  center  of  all  such  activities  among  the  Norwegians 
of  Brooklyn.  The  social  service  work  with  an  office  at  366  45th  Street, 
the  Day  Nursery  at  547  45th  Street  and  Camp  Norge  at  New  City,  Rock- 
land County,  New  York,  are  carried  on  by  a  corporation  separate  from 
the  hospital,  the  Norwegian  Lutheran  Welfare  Corporation,  of  which 
Bernhard  Gunsten  now  is  president. 

In  1 91 8  the  Hospital  Corporation  consented  to  turn  the  institution 
over  to  the  Army  authorities  for  an  indefinite  time  to  be  used  for  soldiers 
in  the  World  War  brought  back  from  France.  This  arrangement  lasted 
for  about  one  year,  and  in  the  meantime  sick  people  in  the  district  were 
carried  by  ambulances  to  neighboring  hospitals. 

Camp  Norge  was  started  by  Pastor  C.  O.  Pedersen  in  191 6,  in  Elting- 
ville  on  Staten  Island,  but  after  some  years  the  place  grew  too  small,  and 
in  1925,  40  acres  of  land  with  some  houses  were  purchased  in  Rockland 
County  by  a  group  of  men  consisting  of  Rev.  J.  C.  Herre,  Iver  Iversen, 
Charles  E.  Larsen,  C.  A.  Hanssen,  John  Musaus,  Jens  Thorsen,  E.  A. 
Cappelen  Smith,  and  Dr.  A.  N.  Rygg.  This  place  has  become  the  per- 
manent location  of  Camp  Norge,  which  from  year  to  year  has  undergone 
many  improvements.  Four  hundred  poor  children  get  a  free  vacation  of 
three  weeks  each  summer.  Under  an  arrangement  with  the  New  York 
City  authorities,  the  Camp  was  used  in  the  winter  time,  for  a  number  of 
years,  for  Negro  children.  Camp  Norge  belongs  to  the  Norwegian  Luth- 
eran Welfare  Corporation,  which  is  a  subsidiary  of  the  Norwegian  Hos- 
pital Corporation. 

Carl  Michael  Eger  is  still  remembered  with  gratitude  in  New  York. 
He  was  born  in  Oslo  in  1843,  and  in  1869  he  received  a  State  fellowship 
which  brought  him  to  New  York  to  continue  his  studies  as  an  architect. 
In  1876  Eger  and  Niels  Poulsen  (Danish)  started  the  Hecla  Architectural 
Iron  Works,  which  in  the  course  of  a  few  years  grew  to  be  the  outstand- 
ing concern  of  its  kind  in  the  country.  A  sample  of  Eger's  work  is  the 
bronze  group,  Lion  with  Cubs,  which  he  gave  to  the  city  of  Oslo  and 
which  was  placed  on  St.  Hanshaugen.  Eger  died  in  May,  1916,  72  years 
old.  In  his  will  he  left  $60,000  and  a  house,  a  total  of  $75,000,  for  which 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

an  old  people's  home  was  to  be  established.  This  home  is  at  Egbertville 
on  Staten  Island,  and  is  known  as  the  Eger  Norwegian  Lutheran  Home 
for  the  Aged.  He  also  left  $10,000  to  Our  Savior's  Church,  Brooklyn, 
$5,000  to  the  Norwegian  Turn  Society,  and  $5,000  to  the  Norwegian 
Singing  Society  of  Brooklyn. 

In  the  early  Seventies,  it  became  evident  that  some  steps  should  be 
taken  about  the  immigration  from  Norway,  which  by  then  was  assuming 
large  proportions.  Many  of  these  immigrants  were  bewildered  and  help- 
less, and  they  needed  attention  and  advice  from  persons  of  their  own 
nationality,  whom  they  could  rely  on.  In  1874  the  Norwegian  Synod 
therefore  employed  a  man,  Peder  B.  Larsen,  to  act  as  immigrant  mission- 
ary at  Castle  Garden,  which  in  those  days  was  the  landing  place  for  im- 
migrants. When  Larsen,  after  a  few  years,  retired  on  account  of  ill  health, 
Rev.  N.  J.  Ellestad,  who  later  went  to  Portland,  Maine,  took  care  of  the 
immigrants.  In  May,  1889,  Rev.  Emil  Petersen,1  representing  the  Norwe- 
gian Synod,  took  up  this  work  with  headquarters  at  the  Lutheran  Pilger 
House,  8  State  Street,  New  York  City.  He  made  this  his  life  work.  In 
1912,  the  Norwegian  Immigrant  Mission  bought  its  own  home  at  24 
Whitehall  Street,  New  York,  where  Mr.  Petersen  died  in  1919.  This 
house  was  afterwards  sold,  and  the  institution  moved  to  92  Columbia 
Heights,  Brooklyn,  where  it  is  still  situated.  This  last  mentioned  struc- 
ture is  also  called  Norway  House.  Rev.  Arnold  Edwards  is  the  present 
missionary.  Before  the  Norwegian  Churches  were  consolidated,  the 
United  Church  also  maintained  an  immigrant  mission  in  New  York. 

The  well-known  Bethesda  Mission  is,  like  Norway  House  (the  Im- 
migrant Mission)  owned  and  to  some  extent  supported  by  the  Norwegian 
Lutheran  Church  of  America,  although  managed  by  a  local  committee 
with  T.  Rettedal  as  superintendent.  The  Mission  was  started  by  local 
men  in  1899  for  the  purpose  of  establishing  a  meeting  house  and  bring- 
ing particularly  the  young  people  within  religious  influence.  After  about 
six  years  on  rented  premises,  the  Mission,  in  1905,  erected  a  substantial 
building  at  22  Woodhull  Street,  Brooklyn,  which  for  many  years  served 
as  a  popular  meeting  place.  Gradually,  however,  the  Bethesda  Mission, 
due  to  the  excellent  location  for  the  purpose,  assumed  the  character  of  a 

3Mr.  Petersen  was  born  in  Bornholm. 

Charitable  Institutions 


center  for  homeless  and  needy  men  and  has  up  through  the  years  done 
a  fine  work. 

In  1 92 1  and  1922,  when  times  were  particularly  hard  in  the  shipping 
industry,  it  was  estimated  that  there  were  1,000  idle  Norwegian  seamen 
in  Brooklyn.  The  situation  was  desperate.  Most  of  these  people  had 
neither  food  nor  lodging,  nor  relatives  in  the  city.  A  committee  consist- 
ing of  Consul  General  Hans  Fay,  Rev.  J.  C.  Herre,  Rev.  Christen  Bruun, 
Rev.  C.  O.  Pedersen,  and  Dr.  A.  N.  Rygg,  decided  to  concentrate  the 
relief  work  in  Bethesda,  and  Consul  General  Fay  succeeded  in  obtaining 
financial  support  from  the  three  Scandinavian  governments.  It  was  the 
understanding  that  the  Swedish  and  Danish  sailors  should  also  be  given 
relief  in  Bethesda.  For  many  months  about  500  sailors  were  fed  daily, 
and  from  200  to  250  received  shelter  every  night. 

During  the  recent  depression,  the  Bethesda  has  performed  heroic 
service  in  caring  for  the  idle,  and  hungry  and  homeless,  who  were  thus 
able  to  weather  the  stress  until  better  times  should  arrive.  In  this  period 
Rev.  H.  Halvorsen,  Rev.  S.  O.  Sigmond,  Dr.  A.  N.  Rygg,  B.  Kollevoll, 
and  others  were  in  charge  of  the  work.  For  several  years  some  10,000 
meals  a  month  were  distributed  and  thousands  of  men  received  shelter. 
It  should  be  stated  that  the  Norwegian  Consulate  General  and  the  Nor- 
wegian government  always  have  been  liberal  in  their  support  of  Bethesda. 

The  Norwegian  Christian  Old  Peoples'  Home,  1250  67th  Street, 
Brooklyn,  is  the  oldest  of  the  two  Norwegian  Homes  for  the  Aged  in  this 
locality.  This  Home  was  started  in  February,  1902,  in  quite  a  romantic 
fashion.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  G.  B.  Hansen,  57  Douglas  Street,  Brooklyn,  open- 
ed their  home  for  as  many  old  people  as  they  could  take  care  of.  Next 
year,  a  society  was  organized  to  support  the  Home,  which  was  moved 
to  the  present  location  where  it  has  been  carried  on  ever  since.  The  Home 
has  undergone  several  expansions  and  is  now  equipped  to  take  care  of 
over  sixty  people.  Henry  C.  Pedersen,  the  building  contractor,  was  presi- 
dent of  the  Institution  for  sixteen  years.  In  1919  he  was  succeeded  by 
Reinhard  Hall,  who  in  1941  was  still  in  office. 

The  Norwegian  people  of  Brooklyn  had  long  recognized  that  an  in- 
stitution to  take  care  of  orphaned  and  semi-orphaned  children  was  need- 
ed. And  when  }.  T.  Tengelsen  in  1908  laid  the  matter  before  the  Nor- 
wegian National  League,  the  idea  received  enthusiastic  support.  In  the 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Fall  of  the  next  year  the  Norwegian  Children's  Home  Association  was 
organized,  suitable  ground  was  secured  at  43  Gubner  Street,  Dyker 
Heights,  and  the  Norwegian  Children's  Home  was  dedicated  on  Novem- 
ber 22,  1914.  The  speakers  on  the  occasion  were  Rev.  C.  S.  Everson,  Rev. 
S.  O.  Sigmond,  Rev.  A.  M.  Trelstad,  John  A.  Gade,  architect,  Thorsten 
Mathiesen,  chairman  of  the  building  committee,  and  A.  N.  Rygg,  presi- 
dent. Music  was  rendered  by  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Carl  H.  Tollefsen  and  Law- 
rence J.  Munson.  And  there  was  singing  by  Elsie  Hansen  and  by  the 
Norwegian  Singing  Society. 

Excellent  work  for  the  children  was  done  at  this  location  for  many 
years.  In  1922  the  Institution  received  a  notice  of  the  intention  of  the 
City  of  New  York  to  institute  condemnation  proceedings.  The  City  de- 
sired to  secure  the  property  of  the  Norwegian  Children's  Home  and  other 
property  in  the  neighborhood  for  the  purpose  of  enlarging  Dyker  Beach 
Park.  The  Courts  some  years  later  valued  the  Home  at  $98,951  as  the 
proper  amount  to  be  paid  by  the  City. 

A  tract  of  land  measuring  198  by  181  feet  was  secured  on  84th 
Street,  between  13th  and  14th  Avenues,  for  $27,484.71,  and  Ola  Ramberg 
was  retained  as  architect  to  draw  the  plans  for  the  new  Home.  In  the 
Spring  of  1932  the  contract  was  awarded  to  Alfred  Abrahamsen,  whose 
bid  was  $93,390.  The  dedication  took  place  Sunday,  November  18,  1932. 
Miss  Asta  H.  Wold  has  been  matron  of  the  Institution  for  fifteen  years 
and  the  following  have  served  as  president:  G.  T.  Ueland  (6  years), 
A.  N.  Rygg  (10  years),  Olaf  Hertzwig  (1  year),  P.  A.  Hansen  (4  years), 
Julius  N.  Hoff  (3  years),  C.  A.  Hanssen  (7  years).  Three  very  efficient 
women's  auxiliaries  are  attached  to  the  Institution:  the  Ladies'  Auxiliary, 
the  Thursday  Club,  and  the  Ladies  Auxiliary  of  Norsemen  Lodge.2 

Gabriel  Theodor  Ueland,  who  for  fifty  years  has  played  a  prominent 
part  in  the  Norwegian  societies  in  Brooklyn,  was  born  in  Stavanger  and 
grew  up  in  Sandness.  He  came  to  New  York  in  1880  and  has  been  an 
organizer  and  president  of  many  of  the  now  existing  societies.  He  has 
also  been  president  of  the  Norwegian  Children's  Home  and  he  was  an 
energetic  worker  for  the  cause  of  temperance.  Ueland  is  honorary  presi- 
dent of  the  Norwegian  National  League  and  a  Knight  of  St.  Olav.  His 
wife,  Mrs.  Gertrude  Ueland,  was  also  a  valiant  worker  for  the  Norwe- 
gian Children's  Home. 

2Annual  Report  Norwegian  Children's  Home. 



ALL  The  Religious  Trends  and  tendencies  that  existed  in  Norway  are 
to  be  found  among  the  Norwegians  in  New  York.  They  were  in 
fact  brought  over  by  the  immigrants  and  transplanted  here.  Some  tenden- 
cies have  also  been  induced  by  the  American  community,  and  there  are 
in  the  New  York  Metropolitan  Area  more  than  thirty  Norwegian 
churches  and  a  number  of  missions.  The  Lutherans  predominate  by  far, 
and  among  them  we  have  high-  and  low-church  congregations.  The 
Methodists  and  Congregationalists  (Free-churches)  are  well  represented. 
The  Baptists,  Adventists  and  Pentecostals  maintain  regular  meeting 

As  the  congregations  in  America  receive  no  economic  support  from 
the  State,  the  maintenance  rests  entirely  with  the  membership.  This  re- 
sponsibility, which  often  is  heavy,  has  a  tendency  to  endear  the  churches 
to  their  members,  on  the  theory  that  whatever  we  have  to  sacrifice  for 
becomes  more  precious  to  us. 

The  Norwegian  language  is  definitely  on  the  retreat  in  most  churches, 
but  has  shown  a  great  resisting  power.  The  day  is,  however,  not  far 
distant,  when  the  Norwegian  Seamen's  Church  will  be  about  the  only 
church  left  to  conduct  its  services  in  the  Norwegian  language. 

Early  in  the  Eighties  the  section  in  the  neighborhood  of  6oth  Street 
and  Twelfth  Avenue,  Brooklyn,  was  nothing  but  vacant  farmland.  Lots 
were  at  that  time  comparatively  cheap  and  a  group  of  Norwegian  church 
people  and  friends,  consisting  of  Ole  Gunsten,  Gabriel  Fedde,  Andrew 
Johnsen,  John  Olsen,  Andreas  Jensen,  Gabriel  Olsen,  and  others,  decided 
to  move  out  to  this  place  and  build  their  homes  there.  Most  of  these 
people  had  been  frequenters  of  the  Norwegian  Seamen's  Church,  and 
later  they  became  members  of  Trinity  Church,  but  out  in  the  new 
settlement  they  felt  the  need  of  a  nearby  Sunday  School  and  meeting  hall, 
and  such  a  structure  was  erected  in  1887.  This  building,  the  Bethany 



Norwegians  in  New  York 

Mission,  served  the  original  purpose  until  1912,  when  it  became  a  church 
to  serve  the  newly  organized  Norwegian  Lutheran  Bethany  Congrega- 
tion. In  191 8  the  congregation  built  a  new  church  on  72nd  Street,  near 
Tenth  Avenue,  and  the  old  Mission  building  was  sold  in  1920.  The 
Bethany  Congregation  has  since  been  served  by  Rev.  C.  O.  Pedersen, 
Rev.  J.  C.  Herre,  Rev.  L.  J.  Heggem  and  Rev.  H.  A.  Okdale.1 

The  Norwegian  Seamen's  Church,  which  was  permanently  organ- 
ized in  1878,  was  for  some  years  the  only  Norwegian  Lutheran  Church 
on  the  Brooklyn  side.  Our  Savior's  Church  did  not  move  over  from 
New  York  until  1885,  although  it  had  maintained  a  Sunday  School  and 
a  Meeting  Hall  for  some  time.  In  consequence,  a  good  many  Norwegians 
attended  services  at  the  Seamen's  Church.  However,  as  time  went  on,  it 
was  found  that  the  religious  work  for  the  sailor  was  in  danger  of  being 
hampered  because  of  the  growing  work  among  the  residents.  And  during 
the  ministry  of  Rev.  K.  Saarheim  it  was  decided  to  restrict  the  service  of 
the  church,  as  far  as  practicable,  to  seamen  alone.  Hence  a  group  of 
Norwegians  who,  up  to  this  time,  had  frequented  the  Seamen's  Church, 
came  together,  in  1890,  and  organized  the  Norwegian  Lutheran 
Trinity  congregation,  which  first  met  at  Fallesen's  Hall,  and  later  at  its 
own  church  on  27th  Street,  between  Fourth  and  Fifth  Avenues.  This 
church  was  dedicated  April  8,  1894.  After  some  years  this  church  became 
too  small  and  inconvenient,  and  vacant  property  was  secured  at  46th 
Street  and  Fourth  Avenue,  opposite  the  Norwegian  Hospital.  In  191 1 
the  basement  was  dedicated,  and  on  July  1,  1917,  the  whole  church  was 
complete  and  ready  for  use.  Dr.  S.  O.  Sigmond  has  been  the  senior  pastor 
of  the  church  since  1910.  It  is  a  very  active  congregation  with  one  of  the 
largest  Sunday  Schools  in  Brooklyn.  The  congregation  celebrated  its 
fiftieth  anniversary  in  November,  1940. 

Trinity  Church  has  trained  several  excellent  choirs  and  has  always 
stressed  the  importance  of  good  music  and  singing.  The  veteran  choir 
leader  and  organist  in  the  church  is  Gotfred  Nielsen. 

The  Rev.  S.  O.  Sigmond  has  furnished  the  following  information 
concerning  some  of  the  more  active  members  in  the  congregation  during 
the  first  ten  years — that  is,  up  to  1900. 

The  first  minister  and  also  one  of  the  founders  was  the  Rev.  Martin 
H.  Hegge,  who  was  held  in  great  esteem,  and  served  for  thirteen  years. 

iRev.  C.  O.  Pedersen,  Kordis\  Tidende.  October  5,  1939. 



He  was  born  in  Biri,  Norway,  in  i860,  and  came  to  America  very 
young.  His  wife,  Elise,  was  from  Oslo,  and  she  died  in  Brooklyn  in  1903. 

The  most  widely  known  of  the  founders  was  Gabriel  Fedde,  born 
at  Feda,  near  Flekkefjord,  in  1843.  He  graduated  as  "seminarist"  and 
was  for  a  while  a  teacher  in  Lillesand,  but  he  also  received  a  license  as  a 
navigator  and  became  a  captain.  Later  he  settled  in  New  York  as  a 
ship  chandler.  Mr.  Fedde  was  well  read  and  highly  intelligent  and  there- 
fore the  natural  leader  of  the  congregation.  He  was  the  author  of  a 
commentary  to  H.  W.  Sverdrup's  Explanation,  published  by  the  United 
Church  and  used  by  many  ministers  and  teachers  in  this  organization. 
During  a  long  stretch  of  years  he  also  wrote  articles  on  church  and  reli- 
gious questions  in  Norwegian  papers — particularly  Luther aneren. 

A  son,  Dr.  Nathanael  Fedde,  with  family,  was  for  seven  years  main- 
tained by  the  congregation  as  a  missionary  in  China,  1922-1929.  He  is 
now  a  practicing  physician  on  Staten  Island.  His  older  brother,  Dr.  Bern- 
hard  A.  Fedde,  is  one  of  the  senior  doctors  attending  at  the  Norwegian 
Hospital  and  practices  chiefly  in  Bay  Ridge.  He  is  also  a  member  of  the 
staff  of  the  Kings  County  Hospital. 

Andreas  Geodor  Jensen  was  born  at  Ulvesund,  Norway,  in  1844,  and 
is  remembered  as  a  teammate  of  Fedde.  They  were  different,  but  formed 
an  excellent  combination.  Fedde  was  the  thinker,  logician,  leader,  while 
Jensen  was  the  warm,  loving,  eloquent  preacher.  He  was  a  true  Chris- 
tian and  lived  as  he  preached.  At  one  time  he  maintained  an  Old  Peoples' 
Home  in  his  own  house.  His  wife,  Olevine,  came  from  Fjaere.  Jensen 
died  in  1918. 

Louis  Munson  and  his  wife,  Josephine,  both  came  from  Kristiansand. 
They  belonged  to  the  congregation  from  the  first  and  were  actively  inter- 
ested in  its  welfare.  Their  son,  Lawrence  J.  Munson,  the  musician,  is 
mentioned  elsewhere  in  this  book.  Another  son,  Christian  Munson,  was 
for  many  years  a  faithful  worker  in  the  congregation.  He  later  became 
a  minister  and  lives  now  in  Minneapolis. 

Johan  Olsen  and  wife,  Emma,  came  from  Bore  and  were  both  natur- 
al leaders  in  religious  circles  in  Brooklyn.  They  formed  the  center  of  a 
group  which  established  the  Bethany  Congregation  (mentioned  else- 

Ole  Gunsten  and  wife,  Gusta,  came  from  Grimstad.  He  was  an  able 
man  and  a  leader  among  the  early  Norwegians.  As  a  builder,  he  took 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

large  contracts  and  among  other  structures  built  a  schoolhouse  for  the 
City  of  New  York.  He  erected  the  first  building  for  the  Norwegian  Hos- 
pital in  1887.  One  of  his  sons,  Christian  Gunsten,  was  the  congrega- 
tion's first  secretary.  His  wife,  Karen,  from  Kristiansand,  is  still  living. 

Peter  Guttormsen,  who  later  took  the  name  of  Thompson,  was  pre- 
sumably from  Kristiansund.  He  did  not  join  the  Congregation,  but  he 
deserves  to  be  mentioned,  as  he  was  able  and  active,  and  interested  in 
the  Sunday  Schools,  the  foreign  missions,  and  religious  meetings  in 

Hans  Antoniussen  was  very  active  in  religious  work,  particularly  the 
Sunday  School,  and  did  much  work  together  with  Thompson  and  Johan 

Gotfred  E.  Nilssen  was  only  a  young  boy  in  those  early  days.  He 
was  confirmed  in  the  Church  and  took  part  in  the  religious  work  from 
his  very  youth.  He  is  a  nephew  of  Peter  Thompson  and  serves  still  as 
organist  in  the  Church. 

Theodor  Davidsen  was  an  early  worker  among  the  Norwegians  and 
in  the  Congregation.  He  now  lives  in  Flushing,  New  York. 

Henry  H.  Lee  was  born  in  01en,  near  Stavanger,  1853,  and  came 
as  a  sailor  to  New  York  in  1871.  Lee  started  out  for  himself  in  1878,  and 
was  the  owner  of  tugboats  and  floating  grain  elevators.  He  was  active 
in  Church  and  charitable  affairs.  His  wife,  Maren,  came  from  Drammen. 

Robert  M.  Andersen  from  Kristiansand  came  to  New  York  in  1876 
and  in  1940  had  been  here  64  years.  The  mixed  choir  of  the  Congrega- 
tion was  organized  in  1887,  in  his  home  at  239  Ninth  Street.  During  his 
active  life  Andersen  was  a  marine  engineer. 

Peter  O.  Petersen  is  from  Kristiansand.  He  is  still  active  and  he 
has  the  distinction  of  having  laid  the  foundation  of  the  present  church 
structure.  His  wife,  Alida,  was  from  Grimstad. 

Harald  Abrahamsen  and  wife,  Marie.  He  was  leader  in  the  Sunday 
School  for  thirty-five  years. 

Even  Olsen  and  his  wife,  Maren,  came  from  Arendal.  Olsen  was  for 
many  years  a  boat  builder  in  Sheepshead  Bay  and  is  mentioned  elsewhere 
in  this  book. 

Peter  M.  Andersen  from  Mosj0en,  Nordland,  and  his  wife,  Thora, 
from  Arendal,  have  been  active,  particularly  in  the  choir. 

Bernhard  Bendixen  and  his  wife  Kathinka,  both  came  from  Ber- 



gen.  He  was  treasurer  of  the  church  for  thirty  years,  and  also  had  a  long 
record  as  a  member  of  the  board  of  managers  of  the  Norwegian  Hospital. 

Gabriel  Hansen  from  near  Mandal  and  wife,  Mathilde,  from 

Peder  Rasmussen  Odland  from  Jaeren  and  wife,  Emma,  from 

Augusta  Styhr  from  Barbu,  Arendal.  She  was  the  song  leader  in 
the  early  days. 

Simon  Salvesen  from  Vallesund. 

Lauritz  Larsen  and  wife,  Hanna,  both  from  Aalesund. 

Johannes  Musaus  from  Aalesund  and  his  wife,  Sofie,  from  Copen- 
hagen. He  donated  the  beautiful  altar  picture  in  the  church. 

Carl  Ingvaldsen  from  Fjaere  and  his  wife,  Gunhild,  Irom  Moland. 

Jens  Wilhelmsen  and  his  wife,  from  Lillesand. 

Lars  Unneberg  from  Sandefjord  and  his  wife,  Inga.  He  was  treas- 
urer for  several  years. 

Elias  O.  Hansen  from  Skudesness  and  his  wife,  Julia,  from  Larvik. 

Peter  Aanensen  Redal  and  his  wife,  from  Grimstad. 

Theodor  Larsen  from  Lista  and  his  wife,  Bertha,  from  Gjestal,  Ja?ren. 

Syver  Olsen  and  his  wife,  Anna,  from  Grimstad. 

Robert  (Ragnvald)  Thoresen  and  his  wife,  Hulda,  from  Oslo,  where 
they  are  now  living. 

Charles  Gardner  from  Kristiansand,  and  his  wife,  from  Grimstad. 

Peter  Corneilsen  from  Stavanger  and  his  wife,  J0rgine,  from  Arendal. 

Edward  Flotten  and  his  wife,  Anna. 

J0rgen  Halvorsen  and  his  wife,  Helene,  from  Gimle,  Grimstad.  She 
is  still  living  in  Grimstad. 

Thorvald  Antonsen  and  his  wife  from  Arendal. 
Alfred  Reyerson  from  Kristiansand  and  his  wife,  Emilie. 

As  a  good  many  Norwegian  families  were  gradually  moving  out  to 
Bay  Ridge  from  the  old  Norwegian  section  of  South  Brooklyn,  it  became 
necessary  to  take  steps  to  serve  their  religious  needs.  In  1908  it  was  de- 
cided to  organize  the  Zion  Norwegian  Lutheran  Church  with  Rev.  Johan 
Ellertsen  as  pastor.  The  first  officers  of  the  Congregation  were:  Trustees, 
Fred  A.  Schade,  Thos.  Bennett,  Johan  Larsen,  George  Simpson,  Charles 
Ericksen,  Christian  Nielsen,  Kleng  Larsen  Lande,  Olai  E.  Olsen,  and 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Nikolai  Petersen;  Ole  Olsen,  treasurer;  Sigurd  Sigbj0rnsen,  secretary. 
The  Congregation  met  for  some  time  in  a  rented  hall,  but  a  plot  of 
ground  was  soon  secured  at  the  corner  of  Fourth  Avenue  and  63rd  Street. 
A  basement  to  serve  the  immediate  needs  of  the  Congregation  was  dedi- 
cated in  January,  191 1.  When  Pastor  Ellertsen  in  1913  accepted  a  call 
from  a  church  in  the  Northwest,  Dr.  Lauritz  Larsen  became  his  successor 
in  the  Zion  Congregation.  He  served  until  1918,  when  he  was  elected 
general  secretary  of  the  National  Lutheran  Council,  in  which  capacity  he 
served  till  his  death  in  1923.  Rev.  M.  O.  Sumstad  served  the  Congrega- 
tion for  a  brief  period,  and  since  1919  Helmer  Halvorsen  has  been  the 
pastor.  In  1927,  Pastor  Ellertsen  returned  as  associate  pastor  and  served 
as  such  until  his  death  in  1939.  The  superstructure  of  the  church  was 
completed  in  1920  and  forms  a  very  dignified  edifice.2 

Rev.  H.  M.  Gundersen,  who  years  ago  served  congregations  in 
Seattle,  Wash.,  and  Hoboken,  N.  J.,  has  for  a  long  period  been  City 
Missionary  in  New  York  for  the  Norwegian  Lutheran  Church  in  Amer- 
ica. It  is  his  particular  duty  to  visit  people  in  hospitals  and  other  institu- 
tions, and  in  prisons.  Pastor  Gundersen  hails  from  Troms0  and  he  was 
a  seaman  in  his  youth. 

Karl  Holm,  from  Jxren,  Norway,  serves  also  as  a  City  Missionary, 
being  supported  by  a  private  organization,  the  Hospital  and  Prison 

The  Norwegian  Evangelical  Free  Church,  which  now  is  situated  on 
Leiv  Eiriksson  Square,  Brooklyn,  has  for  more  than  forty  years  played 
an  important  part  in  Norwegian  church  life  in  this  city.  The  first  meet- 
ings of  the  contemplated  new  Congregation  were  held  by  Gustav  Dahl 
in  the  home  of  John  Williams  on  President  Street,  in  January,  1897.  The 
actual  organization  took  place  on  June  25  of  the  same  year,  Gustav  Dahl 
and  C.  A.  Helmer  Andersen  acting  as  organizers.  Thomas  J.  Frandsen 
was  the  first  pastor,  and  the  first  officers  were  as  follows:  Anders  Nilsen, 
Secretary;  John  Williams,  Treasurer;  Ole  Thorgrimsen  and  G.  B.  Han- 
sen, Deacons;  Th.  G.  Thompsen  and  Anders  Nilsen,  Elders;  John  John- 
sen,  Organist;  Anders  Nilsen,  Edward  Carlson,  Ole  Gabrielsen,  G.  B. 
Hansen,  S.  M.  Svensen,  Trustees.  The  constitution  was  adopted  on  Feb- 
ruary 3,  1898. 

2Seventyfifth  Anniversary  Report,  Zion  Church. 



The  first  church  of  the  Congregation  was  purchased  on  June  20. 
1899,  for  $15,000  and  was  situated  at  Fourth  Avenue  and  15th  Street 
Brooklyn.  It  was  always  called  the  Fifteenth  Street  Church.  Here  the 
Congregation  remained  for  29  years  and  had  large  groups  of  immigrants 
attending  the  services  and  meetings.  But  the  Norwegians  were  continu- 
ally moving  to  Bay  Ridge,  and  the  church  finally  had  to  follow  suit. 
At  first  an  annex  was  established  at  Eighth  Avenue  and  52nd  Street,  to 
serve  as  a  Sunday  School  and  for  meetings.  This  annex,  however,  soon 
grew  into  an  independent  Congregation — the  Second  Norwegian  Evan- 
gelical Free  Church — and  built  a  new  church  in  1922.  In  1928,  the 
mother  church  abandoned  its  old  edifice  at  15th  Street  and  moved  out 
to  Leiv  Eiriksson  Square,  where  a  stately  church  has  been  erected  at  649 
66th  Street.  Rev.  N.  W.  Nelson  has  been  pastor  of  the  Congregation  for 
many  years.  The  church  also  maintains  an  annex  at  Flatlands  Avenue 
and  East  40th  Street,  Brooklyn. 

The  Norwegian  Evangelical  Lutheran  Free  Church  of  the  Lutheran 
Brethren  of  America  had  its  origin  in  a  young  people's  society  "Fredens 
Baand",  which  for  years  used  to  conduct  meetings  in  Bethesda  at  22 
Woodhull  Street.  About  191 2  this  society  decided  to  organize  itself  into 
a  congregation,  with  Rev.  Ole  Thompson  as  Pastor.  At  first  the  meet- 
ings were  held  in  quarters  rented  from  a  Finnish  congregation  on  44th 
Street;  later  on  a  church  sufficient  for  the  requirements,  was  erected  on 
44th  Street  near  Seventh  Avenue.  The  Congregation  prospered  and  built 
a  large  and  roomy  church  on  59th  Street  near  Eighth  Avenue.  After 
Pastor  Thompson,  the  Congregation  was  served  by  Pastors  Magnus  M. 
D0rumsgaard  and  L.  Stalsbroten.  The  present  Pastors  are  Rev.  C.  J. 
Bruti  and  Rev.  C.  Walstad.  The  Congregation  is  thriving  and  has  a 
large  Sunday  School  and  an  active  young  people's  society  "Fredens 
Baand."  It  may  in  the  near  future  have  to  provide  more  space  for  its 

Peter  L.  Hoen  published  in  1932  Mit  Levnetsl0p  (My  Life),  contain- 
ing reminescences  of  a  Seventh-Day  Adventist,  who  was  an  evangelist 
in  some  Norwegian  communities  in  Iowa,  Michigan,  Wisconsin,  Kansas, 
New  York  and  Maine.  He  was  born  in  Norway  in  1838  and  emigrated 
in  1871. 

The  Rev.  H.  W.  Petterson  is  the  pastor  of  the  Seventh-Day  Adven- 
tists  in  Brooklyn. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

In  1 91 5  three  Norwegian  ministers  in  New  York,  S.  O.  Sigmond, 
Andreas  Bersagcl  and  V.  E.  Boe,  set  out  to  prepare  a  religious  songbook, 
called  Concordia  and  containing  a  collection  of  hymns  and  spiritual  songs 
from  Scandinavian,  German,  Latin  and  English-speaking  sources.  This 
book,  the  first  edition  of  which  was  published  in  1917,  has  since  been 
revised  and  enlarged  several  times  and  has  evidently  filled  a  long-felt 
want.  It  has,  in  fact,  become  so  popular  that  it  must  be  regarded  as  a 
best  seller  within  the  Norwegian-American  community.  The  Concordia 
can  be  had  in  English  or  Norwegian  or  combined,  also  with  or  without 
music.  It  is  issued  by  the  Augsburg  Publishing  House  in  Minneapolis. 
To  the  original  editorial  committee  have  been  added  Rev.  T.  O.  Burn- 
tvedt  and  Rev.  Oscar  R.  Overby.3  Forty-six  thousand  copies  of  the  Con- 
cordia Hymnal  were  printed  in  the  five  years  from  1933  to  1938. 

Rev.  A.  E.  Gunderson,  a  minister  from  the  Northwest,  who  single- 
handed  had  established  a  small  Lutheran  mission  among  the  Negroes  of 
French  Cameroon,  Soudan,  Africa,  came  to  Brooklyn  on  a  vacation  in 
1920.  Here  he  met  Sister  Olette  Berntsen  of  the  Norwegian  Lutheran 
Deaconesses'  Home  and  Hospital,  whose  dream  for  many  years  it  had 
been  to  become  a  worker  in  the  mission  field.  Sister  Olette,  an  able 
nurse  and  manager,  regarded  this  meeting  as  the  opportunity  for  her  to 
get  into  her  real  calling  in  life.  She  has  since  done  fine  work  among  the 
Negroes  in  Soudan.  For  some  years  she  was  assisted  in  the  mission  field 
by  Anna  Hansen,  an  elderly  Sister  from  the  Norwegian  Hospital.  Sister 
Birgitte  Nielsen,  also  from  the  Norwegian  Hospital,  has  for  many  years 
served  as  a  missionary  in  China. 

One  of  the  outstanding  theologians  of  the  United  States  is  Dr.  Albert 
C.  Knudson,  dean  emeritus  of  Boston  University  Theological  School,  a 
Methodist  institution.  He  is  a  son  of  the  pioneer  preacher,  Asle  Knudsen, 
who  was  born  in  Hallingdal  in  1844  and  started  out  as  a  Methodist  min- 
ister in  Minnesota  in  1871.  In  his  young  days  Dr.  Knudson,  born  in  1879, 
assisted  his  father.  He  received  his  higher  education  at  the  University  of 
Nebraska,  and  he  has  also  studied  for  years  in  Germany.  For  thirty- 
two  years  Dr.  Knudson  has  been  a  professor  of  historic  theology  at  Boston 
University,  and  he  still  teaches  this  subject.  He  is  the  author  of  many 

4Rev.  Andrew  Hansen,  Brooklyn,  to  author. 



WHILE  the  Norwegian  Population  was  still  very  small  and  scat- 
tered, there  was,  nevertheless,  a  large  number  of  Norwegian  ships 
coming  into  the  harbor  of  New  York,  and  it  soon  became  a  very  press- 
ing question  what  to  do  to  extend  a  helping  hand  to  the  numerous  sailors 
manning  these  ships,  during  their  stay  in  a  harbor  where  temptations 
were  many  and  they  could  be  led  astray.  In  1867,  therefore,  President 
A.  C.  Preus  of  the  Norwegian  Synod,  who  was  very  much  interested  in 
the  religious  conditions  in  the  East,  made  an  arrangement  with  the  Nor- 
wegian Seamen's  Mission  in  Bergen,  Norway,  to  the  effect  that  the  Rev. 
O.  Juul,  in  addition  to  his  congregational  work,  should  undertake  to 
reach  the  seafaring  men.  Economic  support  was  given  by  the  Norwegian 
Seamen's  Mission,  and  this  arrangement  was  kept  up  by  Mr.  Juul 
(from  1873  with  an  assistant,  Peder  B.  Larsen)  and  his  successor,  Rev. 
C.  S.  Everson,  until  1878.  Then  the  Norwegian  Seamen's  Mission  in 
Bergen  established  its  own  branch  in  Brooklyn,  at  first  in  rented  quarters 
near  Hamilton  Ferry,  with  Rev.  Ole  Asperheim  as  the  first  seamen's 
pastor.  But  already  in  February  of  the  next  year,  the  mission  was  in- 
corporated and  purchased  from  a  Methodist  congregation  a  church  build- 
ing at  in  Pioneer  Street  (on  Red  Hook  Point).  This  purchase  was  made 
possible  by  a  loan  of  $10,500  from  a  Danish  shipbroker,  Mr.  Funch,  of 
Funch,  Edye  and  Company.  Three  years  afterwards,  Mr.  Funch  gener- 
ously presented  the  church  with  the  cancelled  mortgage.  Among  the 
pastors  who  have  served  the  Seamen's  Church  may  be  mentioned  An- 
dreas Mortensen,  Carsten  Hansteen,  Kr.  Saarheim,  Jacob  B0,  Tycho 
Castberg,  Jon  Ekeland,  Christen  Bruun,  V.  Vilhelmsen,  Sv.  Norborg, 
S.  Brekke  and  Leif  T.  Gulbrandsen. 

For  some  time  in  the  Nineties  the  Norwegian  Seamen's  Church  also 
maintained  a  reading  room  at  91  Market  Street,  New  York,  a  neighbor- 
hood where  60  seamen's  boarding  houses  were  situated. 



Norwegians  in  New  York 

In  these  early  days  there  existed  in  New  York  a  strong  association  of 
boarding  masters  who  looked  with  decided  disfavor  on  the  Sailors'  Home 
and  the  Seamen's  Church,  which  they  thought  had  a  tendency  to  inter- 
fere with  their  business.  They  had  a  hard-boiled  lot  of  runners  in  their 
employ,  some  of  them  Norwegians,  and  they  were  not  afraid  to  resort  to 
violent  means.  Captain  Magnus  Andersen,  the  manager  of  the  Sailors' 
Home,  was  a  man  of  fine  physique  and  experienced  no  trouble,  but  on 
one  occasion  in  1889,  Mr.  Hansteen  who,  as  Seamen's  Pastor,  was  in  the 
habit  of  visiting  ships  at  anchor  in  the  harbor  in  a  motorboat  donated 
by  the  famous  whaler,  Svend  Foyn,  was  brutally  assaulted  by  runners 
when  he  was  visiting  some  Scandinavian  seamen  in  the  crew  of  a 
Nova  Scotia  ship.1 

The  Seamen's  Mission  remained  at  111  Pioneer  Street  for  some  48 
years,  but  was  then  compelled  to  move,  as  the  quarters  were  becoming 
inadequate.  The  Mission  succeeded  in  1928  in  purchasing  the  large 
church  building  at  33  First  Place  and  has  now  one  of  the  finest  institu- 
tions among  the  Norwegians  in  Brooklyn — a  large  church,  comfortable 
reading  rooms,  and  facilities  for  the  safe-keeping  of  money  and  for  re- 
mittance to  the  home  country.  In  addition  a  large  clearing  center  for 
mail  operates  there,  through  which  letters  may  be  forwarded  to  sailors, 
wherever  they  may  happen  to  be.  The  Mission  is  of  great  importance 
not  only  to  the  sailors  on  Norwegian  ships,  but  also  to  the  many  Norwe- 
gians who  are  engaged  in  American  shipping,  and  to  many  who  have 
settled  here  permanently.2 

A  number  of  people  who  have  emigrated  to  America  take  a  notion 
for  one  reason  or  another  to  disappear  for  good,  and  leave  their  families 
in  Norway  without  support  and  without  knowledge  of  their  whereabouts. 
As  a  rule,  it  is  a  bad  sign  when  people  cease  to  write  to  their  near  rela- 
tives. It  often  means  that  they  are  not  doing  well  and  are  deteriorating 
in  character,  or  it  may  indicate  that  they  want  to  avoid  some  financial 
obligation.  For  many  years  the  Norwegian  Seamen's  Church  in  Brooklyn 
has  maintained  an  efficient  Bureau  of  Missing  Persons,  which  in  a  large 
number  of  cases  has  succeeded  in  reestablishing  broken  contacts.  The 

1The  first  money  received  for  the  establishment  of  the  Sailors'  Home  was  a 
donation  of  2000  Kr.  from  Foyn. 

2Rev.  Sv.  Norborg,  Year  Book  for  Norwegian  Seamen's  Mission  1932. 

The  Sailor  and  His  Friends 


cases  come  from  the  Seamen's  Mission  in  Norway,  from  private  persons, 
and  from  other  sources  such  as  the  Salvation  Army  in  Oslo.  In  the  year 
1939,  for  instance,  the  Seamen's  Church  in  Brooklyn  received  144  notices 
of  missing  persons  and  located  120.3 

At  the  present  time  the  Norwegian  Seamen's  Mission  has  stations  in 
the  following  ports  on  this  side  of  the  Atlantic:  New  York,  Montreal, 
Philadelphia,  Baltimore,  New  Orleans,  Curacao,  Santos  and  Buenos  Aires. 
In  addition  there  are  Norwegian-American  reading  rooms  in  Galveston, 
San  Francisco,  San  Pedro  and  Seattle. 

When  times  were  hard,  particularly  for  seamen,  in  the  spring  of  1914 
— a  few  months  before  the  World  War  broke  out — the  seamen's  pastor, 
the  Rev.  Jon  Ekeland  and  Pastors  C.  S.  Everson,  J.  C.  Herre,  Mauritz 
Brekke  and  H.  M.  Gundersen  started  a  woodchopping  establishment  in 
order  to  avoid  outright  charity  in  helping  the  seamen.  Commander  John 
A.  Gade  donated  $300  to  the  enterprise,  which  was  managed  by  the  Nor- 
wegian Seamen's  Church.  Meal  tickets  were  not  to  be  issued  to  any  appli- 
cant before  he  had  sawed  and  cut  a  certain  quantity  of  wood.  The  fire- 
wood was  afterwards  sold  and  delivered  to  families  around  town. 

Some  time  in  the  Eighties  a  Norwegian  sailor  walked  into  the 
American  Seamen's  Mission  in  New  Orleans.  He  put  $600  on  the  desk 
and  said:  "This  is  all  the  money  I  have  in  the  world.  Take  it  and  use 
it  as  you  think  best,  and  if  you  can  make  use  of  me  too,  take  me  and 
put  me  to  work."  The  result  was  that  the  sailor  was  sent  to  Pensacola 
where  Norwegian  shipping  was  very  active  in  those  days,  and  there 
he  did  good  work  among  his  countrymen.4 

In  1875  the  Norwegian  Seamen's  Mission  Society  established  a  mis- 
sion in  Quebec,  but  gradually  the  attendance  declined  and  in  1898  the 
church  was  sold.  There  was  also  for  years  a  station  at  Pensacola. 

The  Norwegian  Sailors'  Home  or,  as  it  used  to  be  called,  the  Scan- 
dinavian Sailors'  Temperance  Home,  was  founded  by  Captain  Magnus 
Andersen  and  the  Seamen's  Pastor,  Carsten  Hansteen,  in  1887,  for  the 
purpose  of  providing  a  safe  place  for  the  numerous  Scandinavian  sailors 
who  came  into  the  Port  of  New  York.  About  two  years  later,  the  Home 
was  incorporated,  and  the  first  Board  of  Directors  consisted  of  Boye  C. 

3Annual  Report  of  the  Seamen's  Church. 
4Fred  B0hm,  7<[ordis\  Tidende,  January  6,  1921. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Boyesen,  President;  Carsten  Boe,  Vice-President;  Niels  Olsen,  Secretary; 
John  Anson,  Treasurer;  Consul  Christian  B0rs,  Vice-Consul  Christopher 
Ravn,  Thomas  Schmidt,  Christian  Hagemann,  August  Reymert,  Sam- 
uel Harris,  Peter  Berge  and  Helmin  Johnsen.5  Captain  Andersen  was  the 
first  superintendent.  This  office  has  since  been  held  by  Captain  C.  Ulle- 
nacs,  Captain  Hans  Osmundsen,  Captain  I.  Clausen,  Rev.  Henry  A.  Jo- 
hansen,  Captain  and  Mrs.  Frithjof  Iversen  and  Bernt  Kollevoll.  The 
Home  was  first  situated  at  109  William  Street,  and  moved  thereafter  to 
32-34  Hamilton  Avenue  and  has  now  for  about  44  years  been  at  172 
Carroll  Street,  where  extensions  have  been  made  repeatedly. 

Old  rumor  has  it  that  the  house  at  172  Carroll  Street  had  belonged 
to  a  wealthy  man  whose  servant  girl  committed  suicide  by  hanging.  Sub- 
sequently, she  appeared  off  and  on  as  a  spook  to  the  great  consternation 
of  the  neighbors,  with  the  result  that  the  house  was  standing  vacant  for 
ten  years  and  the  owner  was  glad  to  get  rid  of  it  at  a  low  price.  Be  that 
as  it  may,  the  spook  took  fright  and  disappeared  when  the  heavy-fisted 
Norwegians  moved  in  and  nothing  has  been  heard  of  her  since. 

For  more  than  fifty  years  the  Sailors'  Home  ran  an  employment 
office  for  sailors.  Some  years  the  work  would  show  a  moderate  profit, 
other  years  a  loss;  but  in  later  years  the  shipping  office  became  an  out- 
right burden,  not  only  in  an  economic  way,  but  for  other  reasons  as  well. 
And  it  was  finally  decided  that  the  Sailors'  Home  should  divest  itself  of 
this  work,  if  some  new  arrangement  could  be  made.  This  was  accom- 
plished a  couple  of  years  ago  through  the  efforts  of  Consul  General  Rolf 
A.  Christensen.  The  organizations  of  shipowners  and  seamen's  unions 
in  Norway,  Sweden  and  Denmark  pooled  their  interests  in  the  matter 
and  opened  the  Scandinavian  Shipping  Office  at  24  Whitehall  Street, 
New  York  City,  with  Mr.  Christensen  as  chairman  of  the  board.  After 
some  years  of  turbulent  agitation,  this  arrangement  seems  to  give  general 
satisfaction.  The  office  operates  under  what  is  called  the  turn  system,  that 
is  to  say,  each  man  is  entitled  to  a  job  in  the  order  in  which  he  has 

In  the  early  days  life  on  board  an  American  windjammer  was  often 
hard  and  cruel.  There  were,  of  course,  many  humane  and  fair-minded 

5Captain  Magnus  Andersen,  70  Aars  Ti\ba\eb\i\,  p.  84. 
6Rygg,  History  of  the  7<[orwegian  Sailors'  Home. 

The  Sailor  and  His  Friends 


captains,  but  the  "hell-ships",  as  they  used  to  be  called,  were  numerous, 
and  the  cruelties  practiced  on  the  crews  by  brutal  mates  seem  now  al- 
most unbelievable.  "But  if  conditions  aboard  ship  were  deplorable," 
states  Dr.  A.  N.  Rygg  in  an  article  on  Andrew  Furuseth  in  the  American- 
Scandinavian  Review,  summer  number,  1938,  "they  were  no  less  so  on 
shore,  where  leeches  of  all  kinds,  runners,  crimps  and  boarding  masters 
fleeced  the  seaman,  got  him  into  debt,  and  then  sold  him  aboard  ship 
to  the  highest  bidder.  Shanghaiing,  that  is  the  shipping  of  a  sailor  when 
drugged  or  made  drunk,  was  a  matter  of  common  occurrence.  These 
practices  had  become  so  offensive  that  the  New  York  State  Commissioner 
of  Labor's  statistics  for  1894  officially  declared  that  the  shipping  system 
in  the  Port  of  New  York  was  a  'libel  on  our  claim  of  being  the  foremost 
civilized  nation  on  earth.'  "  Under  such  circumstances  it  is  easy  to 
understand  what  a  boon  the  Scandinavian  Sailors'  Temperance  Home 
was  to  those  who  chose  to  avail  themselves  of  its  services. 

The  bed  capacity  of  the  Home  is  120.  The  Institution  celebrated 
its  fiftieth  anniversary  in  the  Fall  of  1939.  The  Norwegian  Consuls  Gen- 
eral at  New  York  have  generally  served  as  president  and  at  present  the 
office  is  held  by  Consul  General  Rolf  A.  Christensen.7 

Gradually  the  community  got  tired  of  the  numerous  rotten  joints, 
which  preyed  on  the  sailors,  and  on  everybody  else  for  that  matter,  and 
in  1892  the  Rev.  C.  F.  Parkhurst  opened  his  fierce  attacks  on  the  police 
and  the  municipal  government.  This  resulted  in  the  appointment  of  the 
Lexow  Committee,  which  laid  bare  to  the  public  many  ill-smelling  facts. 
When  Theodore  Roosevelt  became  Police  Commissioner  in  1896,  he 
compelled  many  of  these  joints  to  close  up  or  move  away. 

On  June  25,  1926,  a  beautiful  ceremony  took  place  at  the  Norwegian 
Sailors'  Home.  Some  of  the  men  on  board  the  American  Trader,  with 
Second  Mate  Warren  A.  Woodman  in  charge,  had  saved  the  entire  crew 
of  the  Norwegian  steamer  Elven,  sinking  in  the  Atlantic.  The  weather 
was  frightful  and  three  trips  of  the  lifeboat  were  required  to  complete 
the  rescue  of  the  32  men.  On  recommendation  of  Consul  General  Fay, 
the  Norwegian  Government  recognized  the  heroism  displayed,  by  award- 
ing Mr.  Woodman  the  Medal  in  Gold  for  noble  action.  The  seven  other 
men  participating  in  the  rescue  received  the  same  medal  in  silver,  and 
the  Captain  of  the  American  Trader  was  presented  with  a  binocular  with 

7A.  N.  Rygg,  History  of  the  Norwegian  Sailors'  Home. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

inscription  for  first-class  seamanship.  The  presentations  were  made  by 
Consul  General  Fay.8 

The  nickname  "Square  Heads"  which  has  been  attached  to  the 
Scandinavian  peoples,  has  been  the  subject  of  much  irritated  speculation 
up  through  the  years.  Many  attempts  have  been  made  to  explain  this 
nickname  on  a  sensible  basis,  but  in  vain.  Such  names  are  as  a  rule, 
humorous,  or  they  may  point  to  some  characteristic.  In  such  cases  they 
may  be  justified,  but  "Square  Head"  seems  to  be  nothing  but  an  abusive 
term,  devoid  of  any  intelligence.  Biologically  speaking,  the  Norwegian 
comes  under  the  classification  "Long  Head",  and  "Square"  has  in  this 
connection  nothing  to  do  with  honesty.  The  large  dictionaries  give  the 
information  that  "Square  Head"  means  a  dumb  person,  in  particular  a 
Scandinavian.  There  is,  however,  no  explanation  as  to  the  origin  of  this 

Mr.  Charles  Collins,  who  edits  the  column,  "A  Line  O'  Type  Or 
Two"  in  the  Chicago  Daily  Tribune,  threw  new  light  on  this  interesting 
subject  in  the  issue  of  August  18,  1 941 .  He  stated: 

"An  American  veteran  says  that  his  fellow  soldiers  called 
the  Germans  'square  heads.'  They  adopted,  without  knowing 
it,  a  synonym  for  the  French  'boche,'  although  they  did  not  use 
it  with  the  French  bitterness.  'Boche'  is  a  slang  abbreviation  of 
'caboche,'  a  hobnail  with  a  rough,  square  head.  An  older  French 
popular  term  for  Germans  was  'tetes  carrees,'  which  can  be  lit- 
erally translated  as  'square  heads.'  Its  chief  implication,  how- 
ever, was  obstinacy  and  slowness  of  wit." 

Here  we  have  evidently  the  origin  of  this  expression  which  was  in- 
tended as  a  sneer  to  the  Germans.  Later,  however,  some  of  the  honor  has 
been  transferred  to  the  Scandinavians,  who  can  afford  to  laugh  at  the 

In  1929  our  local  poet,  Franklin  Petersen,  wrote  a  ballad  entitled 
"Square  Heads",  in  which  he  told  of  a  rescue  in  1899  of  four  men  from 
a  capsized  boat  by  members  of  the  crew  from  a  Norwegian  square-rigger, 
Skjbladner,  of  Drammen. 

The  rescue  took  place  near  Martha's  Vineyard,  Massachusettes,  and  a 

8A.  N.  Rygg,  History  of  the  Norwegian  Sailors'  Home. 

The  Sailor  and  His  Friends 


storm  was  raging.  Hans  Torstensen,  mate,  from  Oslo,  and  six  other  sail- 
ors distinguished  themselves  on  this  occasion.  Franklin  Petersen  finishes 
his  ballad  in  this  fashion: 

Da  barkens  gutter  atter  stod 

tilhavs  i  spr0it  og  braat, 

en  jente  som  sin  ven  igjen 

fra  hvelvet  hadde  faatt, 

gav  dem  en  avskedshyldest,  som 

et  l0sen  skulde  bli: 

"God  bless  the  square  heads",  ropte  hun, 
"the  masters  of  the  sea!" 

Det  rop  fikk  gjenklang  fra  Cap  Cod 

og  fra  San  Bias,  vi  vet. 

Fra  0stkysten  gikk  ropet  vest 

og  rakk  "The  Golden  Gate". 

Og  siden  har  var  sj0mandsstand 

paa  hav,  i  by  og  havn 

blitt  kalt  for  "square  heads"  overalt 

og  barrer  stolt  sitt  navn. 

Captain  Hans  Didrik  Kjeldal  Doxrud,  who  died  in  Philadelphia  in 
1930,  at  the  age  of  78,  was  for  many  years  one  of  the  outstanding 
Norwegian- American  seamen.  He  was  born  in  Hammerfest  in  1852,  and 
went  to  sea  at  the  age  of  sixteen.  He  came  to  America  in  1880,  where 
he  entered  the  service  of  the  Red  Star  Line.  In  course  of  time,  he  became 
commodore  captain  of  the  line  and  was  placed  in  command  of  the  Lap- 
land. When  the  Norwegian-America  Line  Agency  was  established  in 
1912,  with  offices  in  New  York  City,  Doxrud  became  manager  of  opera- 
tions of  the  line.  During  the  forty  years  of  his  maritime  career,  he  had 
saved  the  lives  of  some  four  hundred  people  on  the  sea.  The  Norwegian 
and  Belgian  governments  recognized  his  services  by  bestowing  upon  him 
the  knighthood  of  the  Order  of  St.  Olav  and  the  Order  of  Leopold  respec- 
tively. Decorations  were  bestowed  upon  him  by  American  and  Belgian 
life-saving  associations;  and  President  William  McKinley,  personally,  pre- 
sented him  with  a  gold  watch  in  recognition  of  his  rescue  of  the  crew 
of  two  American  schooners.9 

9Gjerset:  ~]<[orweg\an  Seamen  in  American  Waters,  p.  85. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

In  one  of  these  cases,  Captain  Doxrud  was  with  his  ship  outside  of 
Cape  Hatteras  in  a  terrific  storm,  when  he  met  with  a  vessel  in  dire  dis- 
tress. The  masts  were  gone  and  everything  on  deck  had  been  washed 
overboard.  The  sea  was  too  violent  for  boats  to  be  put  out,  and  if  Doxrud 
went  too  close  to  the  coal-laden  hulk,  he  might  get  his  own  ship  smashed. 
It  was  then  that  he  invented  a  new  method  of  life-saving.  He  had  on 
board  a  lot  of  old  sails,  which  he  twisted  into  heavy  ropes.  These  he 
strung  along  the  side  of  his  ship  as  fenders,  and  going  to  windward,  he 
allowed  himself  to  drift  down  on  the  sinking  vessel.  It  was  a  hazardous 
act,  but  Doxrud  managed  to  save  the  whole  crew,  without  much  damage 
to  his  own  ship.  This  rescue  attracted  attention,  and  Captain  Doxrud  was 
requested  to  furnish  the  American  Navy  authorities  with  a  report  of  the 
method  used. 

Captain  Doxrud's  daughter,  Marie  Johanna,  was  married  to  Joseph 
Stransky,  at  one  time  conductor  of  the  New  York  Philharmonic 

Captain  Karl  Andersen,  of  the  Norwegian  steamer  Themis,  was  in 
1905  honored  by  the  American  government  for  having  saved  the  Captain 
and  crew  from  the  American  schooner  W.  Wallace  Ward.  The  rescue 
took  place  January  2,  1900.  The  Captain  received  from  President  Theo- 
dore Roosevelt  a  fine  binocular  with  inscription.11 

The  battleship  Missouri  was  lying  outside  Pensacola,  Florida,  April 
15,  1904,  when  fire  broke  out  and  spread  with  great  rapidity  to  the 
neighboring  woodwork.  Chief  Gunner  Mons  Monssen  (from  Bergen) 
realized  what  would  happen  if  the  fire  reached  the  powder  magazines 
and  he  ran  into  the  chambers  and  closed  the  openings.  When  the  fire 
was  put  out,  Monssen  was  found  standing  in  water  and  powder  up  to 
his  neck  and  almost  dead.  He  had  saved  the  ship  and  about  600  men. 
President  Theodore  Roosevelt  stated  that  Monssen's  action  was  one  of 
the  most  heroic  in  history.  Congress  awarded  him  its  Medal  of  Honor 
and  he  was  promoted  to  a  lieutenancy.  Later  Monssen  became  chief  of 
the  mine  depot  at  New  London,  Conn.,  where  he  was  stationed  until  he 
retired  in  1925.  He  died  four  years  later.12 

Mrs.  Sadie  Monssen  was  the  object  of  sympathy  when,  in  1938,  she 

™Jiordis\  Tidende,  June  20,  1912;  Jubilaeumsnummer,  October  8,  1925. 
^Hordisk  Tidende,  November  30,  1905. 
^Ulvestad,  p.  253. 

The  Sailor  and  His  Friends 


faced  eviction  from  her  home  by  the  Home  Owners  Loan  Corporation. 
She  lost  her  fight  and  had  to  secure  a  smaller  house,  also  in  Brooklyn. 

In  February,  1940,  Mrs.  Monssen's  name  appeared  again  in  the  news- 
papers. A  new  destroyer  to  be  named  S.  S.  Monssen  in  honor  of  Lieut. 
Mons  Monssen  was  to  be  launched  at  Puget  Sound  on  May  16,  1940,  and 
Mrs.  Monssen  had  been  invited  by  the  Navy  to  sponsor  the  event.  She 
was,  however,  so  poor,  that  she  had  to  request  the  Navy  to  furnish  trans- 
portation.13 This  was  done  by  the  Navy  League.  The  destroyer  was  com- 
missioned in  March,  1941. 

Karl  M.  Westa,  engineer  on  board  the  battleship  Nebraska,  was  on 
June  13,  191 1,  presented  with  the  medal  for  heroism  by  President  Taft, 
in  person.  The  ceremony  took  place  in  the  White  House  in  the  presence 
of  many  officers,  members  of  the  Cabinet,  and  other  officials.  In  Septem- 
ber, 1910,  while  Westa  was  stationed  on  board  the  battleship  North 
Dakota,  an  explosion  occurred  which  killed  three  men.  Westa  risked  his 
life  by  running  down  into  the  engine  room  and  closing  the  faucet  to  an 
oil  tank  which  was  in  danger  of  being  ignited.  If  this  had  happened  the 
battleship  would  have  exploded.  The  engine  room  was  full  of  scalding 
steam  and  water,  and  Westa  waded  in  the  water  to  his  hips,  before  he 
reached  the  oil  faucet.  Westa,  who  used  to  live  in  Brooklyn,  now  makes 
his  home  in  Colorado.  He  is  a  brother  of  B.  A.  Westa  of  this  city. 

Westa  has  also  received  a  silver  medal  and  a  letter  from  the  Italian 
government,  for  assistance  rendered  after  an  earthquake  in  Messina, 
where  the  United  States  had  sent  several  warships  to  help  the  distressed 


Captain  Simon  W.  Flood  who  died  in  November,  1895,  was  born  in 
Hitterdal  in  1839.  He  went  to  sea  and  became  a  captain.  In  1880  he 
came  to  New  York  as  general  representative  of  the  Norwegian  Marine 
Insurance  Associations.  The  Norwegian  shipping  interests  in  American 
waters  were  so  large  and  shipwrecks  and  damage  at  sea  so  frequent,  that 
the  insurance  people  had  to  have  representatives  on  the  spot.  Flood  was 
also  an  active  member  of  Our  Savior's  Church. 

Flood's  successor  was  Captain  Ove  Lange,  who  retired  in  1917  after 
having  represented  the  Norwegian  marine  insurance  interests  in  the 

™Xew  Tor\  Herald  Tribune,  February  8,  1940. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

United  States  and  Canada  for  27  years.  On  his  retirement  the  companies 
gave  him  an  expensive  silver  service  and  15,000  kr.,  in  recognition  of  his 
valuable  work.  He  died  in  1922.  A  son,  C.  C.  A.  Lange,  is  a  prominent 
physician  in  New  York. 

Captain  Thormod  Jullum  held  the  position  from  1917  until  his  death 
in  1927,  when  Captain  S.  C.  Halvorsen  took  over  the  office  which  he  still 
holds.  Captain  Halvorsen  is  a  Knight  of  St.  Olav. 

The  Norwegian  Veritas,  which  surveys  and  classifies  ships  and  de- 
cides on  their  seaworthiness,  established  a  station  in  New  York  in  1898. 
Hans  Johannesen  was  manager  for  29  years  until  his  death  in  1927.  Since 
then  the  station  with  its  sub-stations  has  been  managed  by  Johan  Reier- 
sen.  A  daughter  of  Johannesen  is  married  to  the  noted  tunnel  engineer, 
Ole  Singstad. 

Fredrik  Waldemar  Hvoslef,  a  son  of  Bishop  Fredrik  V.  Hvoslef, 
was  born  in  Bergen  in  1861.  At  the  age  of  seventeen  he  went  to  sea  and 
in  time  advanced  to  the  rank  of  captain.  In  1891  he  came  to  America. 
For  many  years  he  sailed  the  steamer  America  in  the  fruit  trade  between 
New  York  and  the  West  Indies.  In  1908  he  quit  the  sea  and  became  a 
member  of  the  firm  of  Bennett,  Walsh  and  Company,  one  of  the  largest 
firms  of  shipbrokers  in  New  York.  The  name  of  the  firm  then  became 
Bennett,  Hvoslef  and  Company.  When  Captain  Bennett  died  in  1910, 
Edward  C.  Day  and  Rasmus  Michael  Michelsen,  a  native  of  Bergen,  be- 
came members.  The  firm  has  been  active  in  chartering  Norwegian  ves- 
sels employed  by  American  companies.  Captain  Hvoslef  died  in  1926, 
Michelsen  died  the  next  year.  Captain  Hvoslef  was  in  1895  married  to 
Madsella  Steen,  a  daughter  of  the  shipbroker  Steen  in  Baltimore. 

Four  Norwegian  wooden  sailing  ships  were  for  years  engaged  in 
bringing  coffee  from  Java  and  Sumatra  to  the  Arbuckle  Coffee  Company 
in  New  York:  the  barks  Bonanza  from  Lillesand,  Lyna  from  Grimstad, 
Anne  Marie  from  Porsgrund  and  Gaa  paa  from  Arendal.  The  theory  was 
that  during  the  long  voyage  the  small  Java  beans  improved  both  in  looks 
and  quality.  The  cradle-like  motion  of  the  ships  also  made  the  beans 
slide  gently  back  and  forth  in  the  hold,  which  was  fragrant  with  resin 
and  warmed  by  the  sun.  This  gave  the  beans  a  fine  golden  color  and 
a  special  aroma.  From  New  York  to  the  East,  the  ships  always  went 

The  Sailor  and  His  Friends 


empty,  as  other  cargo  might  impart  to  the  hold  a  smell  which  again 
might  ruin  the  aroma  of  the  coffee.  This  method  of  transporting  coffee 
has  now  been  abandoned  in  favor  of  more  modern  ways.14 

Captain  Carl  N.  Platou,  born  at  Hamar,  Norway,  in  1855,  became 
a  captain  in  1878.  In  1880  he  took  a  load  of  ice  from  Krager0  to  New 
York  when  ice  was  scarce  in  America.  Platou  later  became  a  ship 
chandler  in  New  York,  and  he  erected  the  12-story  office  building  at  115 
Broad  Street.  One  of  his  sons,  Dr.  Pedro  Platou,  became  a  well-known 
surgeon  in  Brooklyn.  A  daughter  is  married  to  Captain  Johan  Elligers.15 
Signd,  Captain  Gregersen,  from  Arendal,  also  took  a  cargo  of  ice  to 
New  York. 


The  American  author,  Peter  B.  Kyne,  wrote  in  1939,  an  article  about 
Andrew  Furuseth,  in  which  he  called  him  "St.  Andrew  the  Sailor,  the 
most  unforgetable  character  I  ever  met."  Kyne  continued,  "He  was  the 
most  honest  and  fearless  man  I  ever  knew."  Other  people  called  this  re- 
lentless fighter  for  the  rights  of  the  seamen  "the  Abraham  Lincoln  of  the 
Sea."  Furuseth  was  born  in  Romedal,  Hedemarken,  in  1854,  and  arrived 
in  San  Francisco  in  1880.  He  soon  appeared  as  a  leader  in  the  fight  for 
the  betterment  of  the  conditions  of  the  sailors.  He  became  president 
of  the  International  Seamen's  Union  and  spent  many  years  in  Wash- 
ington, furthering  legislation  in  the  interest  of  the  seamen.  He  succeeded 
in  forming  an  alliance  with  Senator  Robert  M.  La  Follette  the  elder,  and 
together  they  pushed  through  Congress  the  great  Seamen's  Act  which  was 
signed  by  President  Wilson,  March  4,  1915.  During  his  years  in  Wash- 
ington, Furuseth  was  content  to  draw  an  ordinary  sailor's  wage.  He  died 
in  Washington  in  January,  1938,  as  one  of  the  ablest  and  most  useful 
men  of  Norwegian  blood  who  have  been  in  public  life  in  America.  A 
monument  in  honor  of  Furuseth  is  to  be  erected  in  a  park  in  San 
Francisco,  in  1941,  by  the  Sailors'  Union  of  the  Pacific.16 

Furuseth  spoke  on  one  occasion  in  the  Norwegian  Seamen's  Church 
in  Brooklyn. 

^Hordisk  Tidende,  July  17,  1913. 

isJiordisk  Tidende,  April  27,  1911;  February  5,  1920. 

16Rygg,  article  on  Furuseth  in  American-Scandinavian  Review,  summer,  1938. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

By  Sam  Wood  in  the  New  Yor^  Sun  40  Years  Ago 

While  of?  the  Honduranean  coast,  not  far  from  Ruatan, 

The  famous  little  fruiter  Snyg  on  dirty  weather  ran. 
Her  skipper,  Wiig,  was  at  the  helm,  the  boatswain  hove  the  lead; 

The  air  was  thick;  you  could  not  see  a  half-ship's  length  ahead. 
The  mate  said:  "Reefs  of  Ruatan,  I  think,  are  off  our  bow." 

The  skipper  answered:  "You  are  right;  they're  inside  of  us  now." 
The  water  filled  the  engine  room  and  put  the  fires  out, 

And  quickly  o'er  the  weather  rail  the  seas  began  to  spout. 
When  dawn  appeared  there  also  came  three  blacks  from  off  the  isle. 

They  deftly  managed  their  canoe,  each  wearing  but  a  smile; 
But,  clever  as  they  were,  their  boat  was  smashed  against  the  Snyg. 

And  they  were  promptly  hauled  aboard  by  gallant  Captain  Wiig. 
"We  had  thirteen  aboard  this  ship,"  the  fearful  cook  remarked. 

"I  think  we  stand  a  chance  for  life,  since  three  coons  have  embarked. 
"Now  let  our  good  retriever,  Nig,  a  life-line  take  ashore, 

And  all  hands  of  the  steamer  Snyg  may  see  New  York  once  more." 
But  Nig  refused  to  leave  the  ship,  and  so  the  fearless  crew 

The  lifeboat  launched,  but  breakers  stove  the  stout  craft  thru  and  thru. 
Said  Captain  Wiig:  "Though  foiled  by  Nig,  our  jig's  not  up,  I  vow; 

"I've  still  my  gig,  and  I  don't  care  a  fig — I'll  make  the  beach  somehow!" 
And  Mate  Charles  Christian  of  the  Snyg  (who  got  here  yesterday) 

Helped  launch  the  staunch  gig  of  the  Snyg  so  the  crew  could  get  away. 
The  gig  was  anchored  far  inshore;  with  raft  and  trolley-line 

All  hands  on  the  Snyg,  including  Nig,  were  hauled  safe  o'er  the  brine. 
Although  the  Snyg,  of  schooner  rig,  will  ply  the  waves  no  more, 

Let  us  hope  that  Wiig  gets  another  Snyg  for  the  sake  of  the  bards  ashore. 


For  many  years  Captain  Peter  Jensen,  from  Arendal,  was  a  familiar 
figure  in  shipping  circles  in  New  York.  He  quit  the  sea  in  1890  and 
worked  for  a  long  period  as  representative  of  various  shipyards:  Olsen 
Iron  Works,  Shewan's  Shipyard,  and  Todd  Shipyards  Corporation.  Jen- 
sen was  at  one  time  president  of  the  Norwegian  Club.  He  died  in  Oslo 
in  1929. 

The  Sailor  and  His  Friends 


Captain  John  Edwards,  born  in  Flekkefjord  in  1857,  died  in  New 
York  in  1898,  41  years  old.  He  came  to  America  at  an  early  age  and  was 
for  twenty  years  in  the  employ  of  the  Savannah  Line.  He  was  Captain 
of  several  ships  of  that  Line.17 

John  Larsen  who  was  born  in  Farsund  in  1858,  came  to  New  York 
as  a  sailor  in  1880.  For  many  years  he  carried  on  a  grocery  business  in 
Columbia  Street,  Brooklyn.  Later  he  owned  a  boat-building  establish- 
ment on  Staten  Island.  Larsen  became  wealthy  and  he  was  generous  in 
church  and  charitable  affairs. 

S0ren  Juell  Bie,  who  died  in  Brooklyn  in  1939,  was  born  in  Stavan- 
ger  in  1866,  and  came  to  New  York  as  a  seaman  in  the  Eighties.  He 
went  into  business  for  himself,  first  as  a  groceryman,  later  as  a  jeweler. 
He  was  also  very  active  in  Norwegian  societies,  particularly  in  the  Nor- 
wegian-American Seamen's  Association. 

Erick  T.  Christensen  was  born  at  Iveland,  Nordre  Undal,  near 
Mandal,  in  1857.  He  went  to  sea  at  the  age  of  sixteen  and  came  to  New 
York,  where  he  became  an  expert  diver.  In  1905,  he  formed  the  Sub- 
marine Contracting  Company.  He  was  also  for  a  number  of  years  presi- 
dent of  the  Norwegian  News  Company,  publisher  of  Nordisf^  Tidende. 
For  a  while,  later  on,  he  was  the  principal  owner  of  Norges-Posten. 

William  Williams,  who  was  born  at  R.0berg  near  Mandal  about  1 861 , 
came  to  New  York  as  a  seafaring  man,  but  quit  the  sea,  and  built  up  an 
extensive  manufacturing  business  in  iceboxes  and  dumbwaiters.  His 
partner  was  L.  G.  Jonassen.  Williams  lived  across  the  Hudson  River  in 
Edgewater,  New  Jersey,  where  he  was  Mayor  for  several  years.18 

Herman  Mathesen  was  born  in  Holmestrand  in  1869.  He  came  to 
New  York  at  the  age  of  seventeen.  He  was  for  some  time  a  seafaring 
man  and  afterwards  became  an  engineer  and  went  into  the  real  estate 
business.  His  summer  home  was  at  Woodstock,  New  York.  Mathesen 
was  married  to  Gerda  Winge,  a  sister  of  the  composer,  Per  Winge.  Their 
son,  Reginald  Winge  Mathesen,  is  on  the  New  York  Police  Force  and 
is  also  known  as  "the  Singing  Policeman"  because  of  his  fine  baritone 
voice.  Herman  Mathesen  died  in  1940.  He  was  a  brother  of  Olaf 
Mathiesen,  who  at  one  time  was  an  official  in  the  firm  of  Benham  & 

17Xordisk  Tidende,  January  28,  1898. 
18'fc[ordi$\  Tidende,  February  16,  1911. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Halvor  Torgersen,  born  in  Ris0r,  was  for  many  years  a  steward  on 
board  yachts  on  the  Atlantic  coast.  In  1888  he  went  ashore  at  Plymouth 
on  Cape  Cod,  Mass.,  and  he  built  up  a  large  restaurant  business.  He  was 
also  called  the  Cranberry  King  because  of  his  extensive  production  of 

William  Olsen,  who  was  born  in  Stavanger  66  years  ago,  retired 
with  a  pension  in  February,  1940,  from  the  New  York  Central  Railroad, 
where  he  had  seen  service  for  44  years  and  three  months.  He  was  in- 
formed that  his  name  would  be  placed  on  the  Honor  Roll  of  the  com- 
pany. Olsen  left  Stavanger  as  a  sailor-boy.  In  1895  he  took  a  job  as  fire- 
man on  the  railway;  seven  years  later  he  became  a  locomotive  engineer, 
and  finally  he  was  placed  in  charge  of  all  the  power  stations  (42)  of  the 
company.  His  real  name  is  Kristoffersen,  but  his  parents  died  when  he 
was  very  small  and  he  was  brought  up  by  his  sister,  who  was  married 
to  a  Captain  Olsen.20 

Olaf  Olafsen,  born  in  Iceland  about  82  years  ago,  lived  in  Norway 
for  six  years  and  was  a  member  of  Svend  Foyn's  whaling  expeditions  to 
the  North  Polar  Sea.  Olafsen  came  to  New  York  in  1888,  and  has  been 
in  business  as  a  real  estate  man  and  a  builder,  and  has  been  a  member 
of  the  Board  of  Directors  of  the  Bay  Ridge  Savings  Bank  for  many  years. 
His  son,  the  Rev.  Harold  S.  Olafsen,  is  a  prominent  Episcopalian  minis- 
ter in  Brooklyn. 

Yacht  Captain  Niels  E.  Nielsen  died  in  Newport,  Rhode  Island,  in 
August,  1896.  He  was  born  at  Horten  in  1851,  and  received  American 
captain's  license  in  1878.  He  was  master  of  the  steam  yacht  Aquillo. 

Some  fifty  years  ago,  when  steel  construction  became  the  universal 
method  in  erecting  tall  buildings  and  bridges,  large  numbers  of  Norwe- 
gian sailors  found  employment  as  structural  steel  and  iron  workers.  Be- 
ing used  to  work  aloft  and  having  experience  as  riggers,  they  were 
particularly  adapted  for  the  new  trade.  Oscar  Daniels,  from  Oslo,  who 
at  one  time  maintained  offices  both  in  Chicago  and  New  York,  was 
known  all  over  the  land  as  an  erector  of  steel  work. 

In  the  early  Eighties  the  tallest  structure  in  New  York  was  the 
World  Building  in  Park  Row. 

19Dr.  Elias  Figved  in  Hordis\  Tidende.  October  3,  1918. 
20Hans  Olav  in  Kordis\  Tidende,  February  15,  1940. 



AS  Far  Back  as  the  Sixties,  there  were  in  New  York  various  Norwe- 
gian quartettes  and  men's  choruses,  but  most  of  them  led  a  rather 
uncertain  existence,  and  only  with  the  organization  of  the  Norwegian 
Singing  Society  of  New  York,  October  21,  1873,  did  Norwegian  chorus 
singing  obtain  a  definite  and  continuous  popularity  in  New  York.  The 
organizer  of  the  society  was  Arnold  Quamme  from  near  Bergen,  who 
later  was  elected  an  honorary  member.  The  chorus  had  about  28  voices. 
Axel  Hansen  was  the  first  president  and  among  the  organizing  members 
were  Harry  Nord,  Axel  Olsen,  August  Simonsen,  Nick  Narvesen  (the 
pianomaker),  0stberg,  Skaning,  Rudolf  Waring  and  A.  Gulbrandsen. 

During  the  seventeen  years  of  the  existence  of  the  Society,  it  had  a 
number  of  conductors:  Victor  Sperati,  Eisinger  (Danish),  the  Norwegian 
composer,  Nils  Larsen,  who  wrote  the  melodious  barcarole  "Lette  b0lge", 
F.  Wahlfelt,  Alfred  Mj0en  and  Carsten  Christoffersen.  The  chorus  en- 
joyed its  most  flourishing  period  during  the  conductorship  of  Wahlfelt. 
Albert  Arveschou  was  then  at  the  height  of  his  power  as  a  singer  and 
with  him  and  Professor  Edmund  Neupert,  pianist,  as  soloists,  the  chorus 
gave  a  notable  concert  in  Irving  Hall. 

The  Norwegian  Singing  Society  had  its  meeting  place  in  New  York, 
where  most  of  its  members  then  were  living,  but  gradually  the  Norwe- 
gian population  moved  over  to  Brooklyn,  and  with  the  poor  means  of 
transportation  of  those  days — the  ferries — it  became  inconvenient  for  the 
singers  to  attend  meetings.  The  singers  commenced  to  stay  away. 

Thus  the  idea  naturally  presented  itself  that  it  would  be  more  prac- 
tical to  start  a  new  singing  society  in  Brooklyn,  and  on  February  17,  1890, 
a  small  group  of  singers  met  in  Reese's  Hall  at  217  Court  Street,  and 
organized  the  Norwegian  Singing  Society  of  Brooklyn.  The  initiative 
to  this  step  was  taken  by  Hans  Olsen,  who  was  also  elected  the  first 
president.  He  was  born  in  Nordre  Fron.  Gudbrandsdalen,  in  1846,  and 
was  a  musician  by  profession.  Among  other  instruments  he  played  the 



Norwegians  in  New  York 

violin.  He  came  to  New  York  in  1882,  and  died  in  1901.  Among  the  or- 
ganizing members  can  be  mentioned  Johan  Olsen,  John  Larsen,  Ole  Inge- 
bregtsen,  Harold  Bj0rnsen,  Christian  Nilson,  John  Johnsen,  Iver  Iversen 
and  Johannes  Olsen.  The  old  Norwegian  Singing  Society  of  New  York 
was  disbanded  and  a  majority  of  its  members  joined  the  new  organiza- 
tion. A  fine  silk  banner,  which  had  been  given  to  the  old  society  by  Con- 
sul B0rs,  was  transferred  to  the  new  organization.  It  may  be  proper  to 
say  that  the  two  societies  form  one  continuous  whole  from  1873  on  to 
the  present  day.  They  should  be  regarded  as  one  society. 

The  Norwegian  Singing  Society  of  Brooklyn  had  Joseph  Leander 
Hagstr0m  as  conductor  during  the  first  five  years.  He  was  followed  by 
Arvid  Aakerlind,  who  resigned  in  191 1 ,  when  Ole  Windingstad  took 
over  the  baton,  which  he  wielded  for  28  years. 

In  the  Norwegian  community  in  Brooklyn,  the  Norwegian  Singing 
Society  has  always  occupied  a  prominent  and  respected  position.  Up 
through  the  years  it  has  given  a  large  number  of  high  grade  concerts, 
many  in  cooperation  with  Windingstad's  Scandinavian  Symphony  Or- 
chestra. The  Norwegian  Singing  Society  has  assisted  at  innumerable 
charitable  undertakings  and  large  public  events  and  has  been  an  im- 
portant factor  in  spreading  knowledge  of  Norwegian  culture  in  America. 
In  1893  the  Society  took  part  in  the  great  Scandinavian  Singing  Festival 
in  Chicago  and  in  1914  the  Chorus  went  to  Norway  with  the  Norwegian- 
American  League  of  Singers.  Before  its  departure  on  this  occasion  a 
festival  was  held  in  Brooklyn  with  750  singers  from  all  parts  of  the 
country  present.  In  1926,  Windingstad  again  went  to  Norway  with  the 
United  New  York  Singers,  an  organization  composed  of  the  Norwegian 
Singing  Society  of  Brooklyn,  the  Norsemen  Glee  Club  of  Staten  Island, 
and  the  Norwegian  Glee  Club  of  Hoboken,  N.J.  The  Eastern  Norwegian- 
American  League  of  Singers  was  organized  in  191 2  and  consisted  of 
Andvake,  Providence,  R.  I.;  Norwegian  Glee  Club,  Hoboken,  N.  J.; 
Nordmaendenes  Sangforening,  Harlem;  and  Nordmamdenes  Sangfor- 
ening,  Brooklyn.  The  League  held  a  couple  of  successful  conventions, 
but  it  proved  too  difficult  to  keep  the  organization  together,  so  it  soon 
ceased  to  exist. 

Among  the  important  members  of  the  Norwegian  Singing  Society 
of  Brooklyn  may  be  mentioned  Jacob  Ericksen  and  Anton  Wetlesen. 
Both  have  been  president  of  the  Society  many  times.1 
Publications  of  the  Norwegian  Singing  Society,  1910,  1913,  1930. 

Song,  Music  and  the  Theater 


Ericksen  emigrated  from  Mandal  in  1890,  and  was  a  printer  on  the 
Brooklyn  Eagle.  Wetlesen  emigrated  from  Bergen  in  1906  and  is  a  civil 
engineer  in  the  employ  of  the  New  York  Central  Railroad.  Another  old 
and  esteemed  member  of  the  Singing  Society  was  Peder  Hjalmar  Mor- 
tensen.  He  was  born  in  Oslo  in  1864,  came  to  New  York  in  1885,  and 
for  many  years  had  a  shoe  store  on  Hamilton  Avenue. 

The  well-known  singer,  Albert  Arveschou  died  in  1913,  in  Port- 
land, Oregon.  His  actual  name  was  Samuelsen  and  he  was  born  at 
Hamar,  Norway.  Arveschou,  in  1888,  came  to  New  York  where  he  soon 
became  a  popular  singer  and  often  was  a  soloist  at  the  concerts  of  the 
Norwegian  Singing  Society. 

The  Norwegian  composer,  Edmund  Neupert,  died  in  1888  in  New 
York,  where  he  had  been  pianist  and  music  teacher  for  four  years.  He 
also  assisted  at  concerts.  On  his  deathbed  he  wrote  the  beautiful  compo- 
sition "Resignation",  to  which  Bj0rnstjeme  Bj0rnson  later  wrote  the 
poem  "Syng  mig  hjem"  ("Sing  Me  Home").  Bj0rnson  was  of  the 
opinion  that  Neupert  in  his  day  had  no  superior  as  a  pianist. 

Thomas  Olstrum,  of  Montclair,  New  Jersey,  died  in  June,  1939,  68 
years  old.  He  emigrated  from  Oslo  in  1887,  and  lived  for  many  years  in 
Brooklyn,  where  he  was  a  member  of  the  Norwegian  Singing  Society. 
Thirty  years  ago,  Olstrum  moved  to  New  Jersey.  He  was  at  his  death 
president  of  Lodge  Leif  Erikson,  Sons  of  Norway. 

The  Society  celebrated  its  fiftieth  anniversary  with  a  concert  in  the 
Brooklyn  Academy  of  Music,  Sunday,  February  18,  1940.  The  present 
conductor  is  J.  J.  Axman,  who  is  organist  in  a  Bay  Ridge  Church  and 
who  has  been  conductor  of  the  Swedish  Glee  Club  for  ten  years. 

Inga  0rner,  the  soprano,  lived  for  many  years  in  New  York.  She 
was  popular  and  frequently  sang  at  concerts: 

The  Christian  Male  Chorus  was  organized  in  1893  and  as  it  has 
mostly  drawn  its  membership  from  Trinity  Church,  it  may  be  said 
to  belong  to  that  congregation.  The  first  conductor  was  Lawrence  J. 
Munson,  but  for  some  forty-five  years  Gotfred  Nilssen  has  filled  this 
position  with  credit.  The  Chorus  has  always  been  active  in  assisting  at 
church  and  patriotic  functions.  One  of  the  outstanding  members  is  Peter 
M.  Andersen,  who  is  fond  of  music  and  can  swing  a  baton  himself.  He 
is  from  Mosjoen,  Norway.2 

2Rev.  S.  O.  Sigmond. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

The  Trinity  Male  Chorus  was  established  in  1929,  and  Ellsworth 
Olsen  has  been  its  conductor  throughout  its  whole  existence. 


Ole  Windingstad  was  born  in  1886  in  Sandefjord  and  commenced 
at  an  early  age  to  study  music  with  his  father,  who  was  organist  in  that 
city.  At  fifteen  years  of  age,  he  became  conductor  of  an  amateur  orches- 
tra, and  the  next  year  he  graduated  as  organist  with  the  highest  marks 
from  the  Conservatory  of  Music  in  Oslo.  Thereafter  he  studied  at  the  Con- 
servatory in  Leipzig,  particularly  orchestral  and  operatic  music,  and  came 
in  1906  to  Brooklyn  where  for  some  years  he  was  organist  at  the 
Norwegian  Seamen's  Church. 

In  1 91 1  Windingstad  was  elected  conductor  of  the  Norwegian 
Singing  Society  of  Brooklyn,  a  position  he  held  until  1939,  when  he  was 
called  to  New  Orleans  to  take  charge  of  a  symphony  orchestra  there. 
He  was  for  many  years  conductor  of  the  Scandinavian  Symphony  Or- 
chestra and  of  other  orchestras  and  singing  societies,  and  he  has  for  more 
than  thirty  years  been  the  dominating  influence  in  Norwegian  musical 
life  in  the  East.  Perhaps  no  other  man  has  done  as  much  as  Windingstad 
to  introduce  Scandinavian  music  in  America. 

Among  his  outstanding  musical  events  are  the  concerts  given  in 
Carnegie  Hall,  under  the  auspices  of  the  American-Scandinavian  Foun- 
dation, the  Roald  Amundsen  festival  in  1928,  the  Bj0rnstjerne  Bj0rnson 
festival  in  1931,  and  the  welcome  festival  for  the  Norwegian  Crown 
Prince  and  Crown  Princess  in  the  Metropolitan  Opera  House  in  1939. 
Windingstad  is  a  Knight  of  St.  Olav. 

Up  to  about  1913  virtually  all  Norwegian  concerts  were  held  in 
halls  run  in  connection  with  saloons,  so  that  the  music  in  a  sense  was 
associated  with  drinking  and  dancing.  Windingstad  felt  that  this  put 
music  on  a  humiliating  level  and  he  demanded  that  the  concerts  he  had 
to  do  with  should  be  given  in  halls  devoted  to  music.  He  carried  his 
point  after  an  agitation  in  which  Rev.  John  Ekeland,  Commander  John 
A.  Gade,  Dr.  A.  N.  Rygg  and  others  took  part.  It  was  Skald,  a  mixed 
chorus,  which  led  the  way  to  the  Brooklyn  Academy  of  Music,  and  most 
Norwegian  concerts  of  any  pretensions  have  been  held  at  this  place  ever 

Song,  Music  and  the  Theater 


Mmc.  Olive  Fremstad,  who  in  her  day  was  the  greatest  dramatic 
soprano  before  the  public,  was  born  in  Stockholm,  her  father  being 
a  Norwegian  and  her  mother  a  Swede.  Her  early  childhood  was  passed 
in  Oslo,  where  she  made  her  first  public  appearance  as  a  singer  (in 
Calmeyergatens  bedehus)  when  she  was  only  three  years  old.  Three 
years  later  she  came  to  America  with  her  parents  who  settled  in  St. 
Peter,  Minn.,  where  Governor  John  A.  Johnson  was  one  of  her  older 
schoolmates.  She  took  up  the  teaching  of  piano  in  Minneapolis.  Her 
ambition  was  to  sing,  however,  and  when  she  had  earned  enough  money 
she  came  to  New  York  in  1890  to  pursue  her  vocal  studies.  Later  she 
became  soloist  at  St.  Patrick's  Cathedral  and  then  she  made  a  concert 
tour  of  the  States.  In  1893  she  went  to  Europe  to  study,  and  she  ap- 
peared afterwards  in  the  leading  opera  houses  of  the  Old  World.  In 
1903  she  came  to  the  Metropolitan  Opera  House  in  New  York,  where 
for  many  years  she  was  the  greatest  Wagner  soprano.  Sunday,  March  19, 
1916,  she  sang  at  a  concert  for  the  benefit  of  the  Norwegian  Hospital. 
This  event  took  place  at  the  Academy  of  Music  in  Brooklyn. 


In  1930  the  famous  radio  singer,  Rudy  Vallee,  commenced  to  sing 
a  march,  the  "Maine  Stein  Song",  which  almost  over  night  became  popu- 
lar. Everybody  thought  that  it  was  a  new  composition,  but  the  fact  is 
that  the  number  —  originally  called  "Opie"  —  had  been  written  and 
published  some  29  years  earlier  without  attracting  much  attention.  The 
composer  was  Emil  A.  Fenstad,  son  of  Drum  Major  Jens  Aage  Fenstad, 
of  Trondheim,  Norway.  Emil  A.  Fenstad  came  to  America  in  1889, 
19  years  old,  and  after  a  while  entered  the  United  States  Army  as  a 
member  of  a  military  band,  playing  the  horn,  which  he  had  learned  in 
Norway.  Fenstad  wrote  the  song  while  he  was  in  Havana  during  the  War 
with  Spain.  In  was  a  two-step,  or  march,  and  the  song  was  the  finale. 
It  was  published  by  Fischer  in  New  York  in  1901,  but  nobody  dreamed 
then  that  it  was  going  to  be  an  outstanding  song  hit  years  later. 

It  so  happened  that  Lincoln  Colcord,  then  a  student  at  the  University 
of  Maine  and  later  translator  of  R0lvaag's  Giants  in  the  Earth  into  Eng- 
lish, wrote  words  to  the  breezy  melody,  and  thus  we  have  the  "Maine 
Stein  Song".  It  was  not,  however,  until  1930  that  the  song  became  popu- 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

lar  and  had  a  great  sale,  which  also,  incidentally,  benefited  Fenstad,  who 
by  that  time  was  living  in  Washington,  D.  C.  Another  of  Fenstad's 
works,  "Heroes  Ever",  was  written  in  honor  of  Admiral  Byrd  and  his 

The  musician,  Carl  J.  Moe,  who  died  in  New  York  in  1899,  was 
born  in  Bergen  in  1837.  He  was  for  some  time  engaged  as  first  flutist  at 
Christiania  Theater  and  thereafter  spent  25  years  in  Stavanger  as  con- 
ductor of  the  Municipal  Orchestra.  Moe  emigrated  to  New  York  in  1886. 
For  a  while  he  was  organist  in  the  Norwegian  Seamen's  Church.  He 
was  an  orchestra  conductor  for  many  years. 


In  the  Fall  of  1904,  an  agitation  was  started  in  Nordisl^  Tidende  for 
raising  a  statue  of  the  Norwegian  composer,  Edvard  Grieg,  in  some  suit- 
able place  in  Brooklyn.  In  the  United  States  Grieg  was  at  that  time  re- 
garded as  the  most  popular  composer,  and  particularly  his  Peer  Gynt 
Suite  was  played  by  orchestras  all  over  the  land. 

In  1905,  ten  Norwegian  societies  decided  to  establish  the  Edvard 
Grieg  Monument  Committee  and  started  work  for  the  collection  of 
funds.  Sigvald  Asbj0rnsen,  a  Norwegian  sculptor  of  Chicago,  was  com- 
missioned to  do  the  work,  and  the  statue — a  bronze  bust  on  an  artistic 
pedestal — was  placed  in  the  Flower  Garden  in  Prospect  Park,  Brooklyn, 
where  busts  of  other  great  composers  are  to  be  found.  The  unveiling  took 
place  with  elaborate  ceremonies  on  July  11,  1914.  The  following  com- 
mittee was  in  charge:  G.  T.  Ueland,  President;  Juell  Bie,  Treasurer;  Fred 
Werner,  Secretary.  Attorney  T.  Langland  Thompson  delivered  the  un- 
veiling address,  Mrs.  Kaja  Petersen  placed  flowers  on  the  monument, 
and  there  were  speeches  by  Mr.  Ueland  and  the  Commissioner  of  Parks, 
Raymond  V.  Ingersoll.  An  orchestra  played  Grieg  music,  and  in  the 
evening  a  dinner  was  given  at  Ulmer  Park.  Every  year,  on  the  Fourth 
of  July,  the  Norwegian  National  League  places  flowers  on  the  monu- 
ment, with  speeches  and  suitable  ceremonies.0 

In  1939  the  American-Scandinavian  Foundation  published  in  Eng- 
lish translation  David  Monrad-Johansen's  standard  work  on  Edvard 

4Carl  Soyland,  J^ordis\  Tidende,  January,  1931. 

57iordis\  Tidende.  August  25,  1904;  January  19,  1905;  November  9,  1909; 
July  9,  1914. 

Song,  Music  and  the  Theater 


Grieg.  It  is  regarded  by  American  critics  as  the  authoritative  biography 
of  the  great  Norwegian  composer.  The  New  York  critic  Henry  T. 
Finck's  work  on  Grieg  had  up  to  this  time  been  considered  the  best  avail- 
able biography  in  English.  Finck  regretted  that  the  Norwegian  master 
never  had  an  opportunity  to  visit  America. 

Song  of  the  North,  the  story  of  Edvard  Grieg,  by  Claire  Lee  Purdy, 
was  published  in  1941. 

In  a  city  like  New  York  Grieg's  name  appears  on  programs  many 
times  every  week.  The  two  Peer  Gynt  Suites  and  in  particular  "In  the 
Hall  of  the  Mountain  King"  never  fail  to  bring  down  the  house.  His 
Concert  for  Piano  is  one  of  the  great  classics  and  "Landsighting"  is  a 
standard  work  for  American  choruses.  During  the  first  World  War, 
when  German  music  was  taboo,  musicians  and  singers  turned  to  the 
Scandinavian  composers,  and  a  large  number  of  Grieg's  songs  became 
public  favorites.  This  was  likewise  the  case  with  Waldemar  Thrane's 
"Soli  gaar  bak  aasen  ne",  which  still  serves  as  a  bravour  number.  Of 
Norwegian  orchestra  numbers  which  are  popular  on  this  side  of  the  water 
may  be  mentioned  "The  March  of  the  Boyars",  by  Johan  Halvorsen. 


The  Information  Bureau  of  the  American-Scandinavian  Foundation 
helped  in  1937,  to  assemble  material  for  an  exhibit  in  the  Theater  Room 
of  the  City  of  New  York  of  "Ibsen  In  New  York,  1889- 1936".  The  cura- 
tor, Mrs.  May  Davenport  Seymour,  succeeded  in  gathering  together  from 
a  variety  of  sources  an  extremely  interesting  collection  of  programs, 
photographs,  portraits,  prompt  books,  and  costumes.  The  dresses  worn 
as  Hedda  Gabler  by  Mrs.  Fiske  in  1904  and  by  Nazimova  in  191 8  form 
an  amusing  contrast  and  there  is  a  very  sinister  looking  pistol  used  by 
Nazimova  as  Hedda  in  1906.  Not  New  York,  but  Milwaukee,  Wis- 
consin, enjoyed  the  first  production  of  Ibsen  in  English  in  this  country. 
A  Doll's  House  was  produced  there  on  June  2  and  3,  1882,  according 
to  an  article  by  Professor  Einar  Haugen  in  Journal  of  English  and  Ger- 
manic Philology  for  July,  1934.  Modjeska  played  in  Louisville,  Ken- 
tucky, in  the  same  play  in  1883.   But  since  1889,  when  Mrs.  Richard 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Mansfield  introduced  Nora  to  New  Yorkers,  the  Metropolis  has  seen  a 
long  line  of  distinguished  artists  in  more  than  a  dozen  Ibsen  plays.  Be- 
sides productions  in  English  with  the  Mansfields,  Janet  Achurch,  Mrs. 
Fiske  and  George  Arliss,  Ethel  Barrymore,  Blanche  Yurka,  Claire  Eames, 
Helen  Chandler,  Eva  LeGallienne  and  others,  New  Yorkers  have  been 
privileged  to  see  Ibsen  in  French  with  Rejane,  in  German  with  Agnes 
Sorma,  in  Russian  with  Nazimova  before  she  began  to  act  in  English, 
in  Norwegian  with  Borgny  Hammer,  and  in  Italian  with  Duse.  This 
exhibit  is  indeed  a  graphic  illustration  of  what  the  great  Norwegian 
dramatist  has  meant  and  still  means  to  the  theater  in  New  York.6  When 
Peer  Gynt  was  put  on  in  New  York  some  fifteen  years  ago,  the  drama 
ran  130  times.  Joseph  Schildkraut  played  the  title  role,  and  Louise  Clos- 
ser  Hale  was  Mother  Aase.  The  Norwegian  artist  in  metals,  Andreas 
Baardsen,  made  the  bridal  crown  and  some  of  the  other  equipment  used 
in  the  play.  Life  of  Henri\  Ibsen  by  Halvdan  Koht  was  published  by  the 
American-Scandinavian  Foundation  in  1931. 

It  is  interesting  to  know  that  the  American  Foundation  for  the 
Blind  has  prepared  a  full-length  production  of  Hedda  Gabler  on  talking 
book  disks,  with  Mady  Christians  as  the  star.  The  play  runs  to  five 
double-sided  disks,  and  has  a  reading  time  of  two  and  one-half  hours. 
These  book  disks  for  the  Blind  have  been  placed  in  twenty-seven  public 
libraries  across  the  country  and  circulate  between  libraries  and  blind 
readers  postage  free.7 

Letters  of  Henri\  Ibsen  was  translated  by  John  Nilsen  Laurvik  and 
May  Morrison,  New  York,  in  1908.  All  of  Ibsen's  works  are  to  be  had 
in  English. 

In  the  Twenties,  Tancred  Ibsen,  a  grandson  of  Henrik  Ibsen,  stayed 
in  New  York  for  several  years  with  his  wife,  Lillebil  Ibsen.  She  is  a 
dancer  and  took  the  part  of  Anitra  in  the  Theatre  Guild's  performances 
of  Peer  Gynt,  while  Tancred  Ibsen  was  working  on  some  elaborate  plans 
for  a  film  of  Leiv  Eiriksson.  Nothing  came  of  the  plans,  however,  be- 
cause it  was  found  the  project  would  cost  about  one  and  one-half  million 

6American-Scandmavian  Review,  Spring,  1937,  p.  83. 
7Hew  Yor\  Times,  January  28,  1940. 

Song,  Music  and  the  Theater 


In  the  Norwegian  Colony  in  Brooklyn,  theatricals  have  always  been 
in  considerable  favor  with  people  who  have  enjoyed  the  opportunity  to 
act  and  as  well  as  with  the  public  who  have  attended  the  plays  per- 
formed. Quite  often  actors  trained  in  Norway  have  added  their  skill 
to  the  performances. 

In  the  early  Nineties  Brooklyn  was  visited  by  Anton  Sannars  and  his 
wife,  who  for  years  had  traveled  along  the  coast  of  Norway  with  Olaus 
Olsen's  Theater  Company.  In  March,  1 891,  they  staged  the  ever-popular 
Til  Sceters,  and  they  also  had  on  their  program  Jeppe  pact  Bjerget  and 
Tordensfyold  i  Dynef^ilen.  Later  the  couple  went  to  Minneapolis  and 

In  March,  1891,  a  memorial  affair  was  arranged  for  the  recently  de- 
ceased amateur  actor  Malthe-Kaas,  who  evidently  must  have  been  quite 
popular.  This  affair  took  place  in  Tivoli  on  Eighth  Street,  between  Third 
and  Fourth  Avenues,  Brooklyn,  and  a  local  review,  En  Nytaarsnats 
Dr0m,  was  offered  to  the  public.  Anthon  Ibsen  was  the  stage  director, 
and  the  committee  consisted  of  L.  Blix,  H.  Stalberg,  Dr.  H.  Volckmar, 
Hartvig  Jensen,  John  Johnsen,  D.  T.  Lund,  Emil  Nielsen  and  K0hler 

A  well-known  actor,  Michelsen,  from  the  theater  in  Bergen,  came 
to  New  York  in  April,  1891,  and  gave  a  performance  here.  Later  he 
went  to  Chicago,  Minneapolis  and  St.  Paul.  It  was  told  of  him  that  he 
had  so  long  and  often  played  the  main  role  in  Molbech's  Ambrosias, 
that  he  finally  went  by  this  name.10 

In  1907  there  were  two  companies  entertaining  the  local  public: 
the  Norwegian  Theater  and  the  Norwegian  Dramatic  Society.  And  in 
1914  the  Norwegian  Theater  appears  again.  These  amateur  theaters  out- 
side of  Norway  have  two  main  difficulties  to  contend  with:  It  is  hard 
to  obtain  competent  assistance  and  the  economic  support  is  always  meager. 

The  wrestler,  Charles  Norbeck,  visited  Brooklyn  and  Chicago  in 
1892,  taking  part  in  wrestling  contests.  He  returned  to  Oslo  and  started 
the  Circus  Norbeck. 

Harry  Randall,  born  in  Oslo  in  1858,  came  to  New  York  in  1878, 

*Xordis\  Tidende,  March  20,  1891. 
*>iordisk  Tudende,  March  23,  1891. 
10Hordis\  Tidende,  April  17,  1891. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

and  was  employed  as  traveling  salesman  and  agent  and  impressario.  In 
1892  he  was  conductor  of  the  Grieg  Philharmonic  Society,  a  mixed 
chorus  which  did  not  last  long.  And  at  one  time  he  was  secretary  of  the 
United  Scandinavian  Singers  of  America.  Randall  finally  went  back  to 
Oslo,  where  he  was  manager  of  the  Tivoli,  an  amusement  park,  for  a 
while.11  His  brother,  Adolf  Dahm-Petersen,  was  a  song  pedagogue  and 
baritone  of  ability.  He  was  at  one  time  director  of  a  music  academy  in 
Ithaca  and  was  later  engaged  as  soloist  in  churches  in  New  York.  About 
1915  he  had  a  conservatory  in  Birmingham,  Alabama. 

^Xordis\  Tidende,  March  4,  June  17,  1892. 



AS  in  the  Case  of  the  Civil  War,  it  would  indeed  be  very  interesting 
if  it  could  be  ascertained  how  many  Norwegians  served  in  the  Amer- 
ican Navy  during  the  War  with  Spain  in  1898.  It  is  now,  however,  too 
late  to  follow  up  this  question  in  detail,  but  it  is  fair  to  assume  that  hun- 
dreds of  Norwegians  and  other  Scandinavians  saw  service.  A  member  of 
the  Norwegian-American  Seamen's  Association  by  name  Charles  John- 
sen  (later  hotel  keeper  in  Freeport,  Long  Island),  was  on  board  the  battle- 
ship Indiana  in  the  battle  outside  Santiago.  He  sent  Nordis^  Tidende  a 
list  of  the  Scandinavians  on  board.  There  were  18  Swedes,  5  Danes,  10 
Finns  and  28  Norwegians,  a  total  of  61.  There  is  no  reason  to  believe 
that  there  was  a  larger  percentage  of  Scandinavians  on  board  the  Indiana 
than  on  board  the  rest  of  the  ships  in  the  American  Navy.  And  if  the 
number  given  above  is  a  fair  average,  it  is  clear  that  the  Scandinavians 
were  very  numerous  on  board  the  American  fighting  ships.  It  was,  in 
fact,  at  one  time  regarded  as  an  unsound  policy  to  have  so  many  foreign- 
ers serve  on  board  the  American  warships. 

The  twenty-eight  Norwegians  on  board  the  Indiana  were:1 
Carl  Gamborg  Andersen,  Oslo  Conrad  Johnsen,  Lillesand 
Peter  Andersen,  Tvedestrand  Charles  Johnsen,  Oslo 

Otto  Andersen,  Oslo  Olaf  Lindseth,  Vads0 

Nikolai  Bendixen,  Stavanger  John  E.  Morin,  Trondheim 

Jens  Berggren,  Sandefjord  Ole  B.  Mortensen,  Bergen 

Peter  J.  Boyesen,  Skien  Charles  M.  H.  Olsen,  Oslo 

Bernhard  Christensen,  Bergen         Ole  Olsen,  Skien 
Carl  Dahl,  Bergen  Carl  O.  Sievers,  Mandal. 

Konrad  Haake,  Oslo  Louis  Siqueland,  Stavanger 

Jacob  Halvorsen,  Porsgrund  Gustav  Svendsen,  Haugesund 

Carl  Halvorsen,  Skudesness  Lars  M.  Torkelsen,  Stavanger 

Halfdan  B.  Hansen,  Bergen  Jens  L.  Walle,  T0nsberg 

Louis  Hansen,  Oslo  Jacob  P.  Windness,  T0nsberg 

Andreas  E.  Hermansen,  Troms0      Edward  Winter,  Troms0 

^Hordisk  Tidende,  July  14,  1898;  December  4,  1902. 



Norwegians  in  New  York 

Axel  Johansen,  now  a  business  man  in  Sarpsborg,  served  in  the 
Nineties  for  six  years  in  the  American  Navy.  In  the  battle  outside  San- 
tiago, Cuba,  July  3,  1898,  Johansen  was  on  board  the  cruiser  New  Yort{.2 

In  Norwegian  Sailors  In  American  Waters,  Professor  K.  Gjerset  gives 
the  names  of  the  following  55  Norwegians  who  served  under  Admiral 
Dewey  in  the  Battle  of  Manila  Bay: 


Emil  Anderson,  seaman 
Martin  C.  Christensen,  seaman 
Albert  Christenson,  seaman 
John  Erickson,  seaman 
Gustav  A.  Fagerlund,  seaman 
Alexander  Hansen,  coal  passer 
Albert  Hanson,  seaman 
Albert  W.  Hanson,  seaman 
Haakon  L.  Hanson  (Trondheim), 

Peter  Hanson,  seaman 
Nels  G.  C  Isberg,  coxswain 
George  J0rgensen,  oiler 

Anders  Larsen,  seaman 
Otto  Larsen,  coxswain 
Peter  Larsen,  gunner's  mate 
Knute  S.  Lindaur,  apprentice,  1st  CI. 
Oscar  Nelson,  seaman 
Erland  Olsen,  engineer  force 
Jacob  Olsen  (Oslo),  seaman 
Olaf  Olsen,  coxswain 
Andrew  Pedersen,  coxswain 
Ingvald  Pedersen  (Oslo),  petty  offi- 
cer, 2nd  Class 
Reinhold  Peterson,  oiler 
Peter  Swenson,  gunner's  mate 

j0rgen  H.  j0rgensen,  coxswain 

B.  Bertelsen,  petty  officer,  2nd  CI.    K.  Kristiansen,  seaman 
E.  Erickson,  ordinary  seaman 
L. Hailing,  seaman 
H.  C.  Jensen,  ordinary  seaman 


G.  T.  Olson,  seaman 
A.  Swanson,  petty  officer 

N.  Nilsen,  apprentice 
O.  Olsen,  petty  officer,  3rd  Class 
E.  Swansen,  apprentice 

A.  Hanson,  petty  officer 
M.  Hanson,  petty  officer 
J.  Larsen,  machinist 

Paul  Evenson,  engineer  force  A.  Petersen,  seaman 

J.  Oleson,  petty  officer  J.  Peterson,  seaman 

O.  Oleson,  seaman 

2Hordis\  Tidende,  June,  1939. 

In  the  War  With  Spain 



W.  Hanson,  seaman 
O.  Larson,  seaman 
E.  H.  Oleson,  seaman 

E.  G.  Olsen,  marine 
O.  A.  Peterson,  seaman 


G.  E.  Olsen,  fireman 
O.  J.  Olsen,  fireman 

B.  H.  Sj0berg,  petty  officer 
O.  Swanson,  petty  officer 

Axel  Johannesen,  who  was  born  in  Kongsberg,  Norway,  in  1875, 
came  to  America  in  1893  and  became  a  marine  sailor  on  a  ship  of  the 
United  States  Pacific  Squadron  in  1895.  He  served  later  as  a  gunner 
on  the  cruiser  Baltimore  and  was  with  Dewey's  Squadron  in  the  Battle  of 
Manila  Bay.  He  went  to  China  in  the  Boxer  Uprising,  was  later  a  gold 
digger  in  Alaska,  and  reentered  the  United  States  Navy  during  the  World 
War,  serving  on  a  torpedo  boat  in  European  waters.3 

Here  are  some  additional  names: 

S.  J.  Skou  served  on  board  the  cruiser  Raleigh  in  the  Battle  of 
Manila  Bay.4 

In  April,  1900,  the  following  four  Norwegians  came  back  to  New 
York  from  Manila,  where  they  had  served  on  board  the  gunboat  Wheel- 
ing: Jensen  and  Larsen,  quartermasters;  Frandsen,  gunner,  and  Ander- 
sen, able  seaman.5 

The  following  arrived  in  August,  1900,  from  Manila:  Einar  Hansen 
and  Ludvig  Andersen,  both  non-commissioned  officers;  Johan  Tollefsen 
from  Stavanger;  Hans  Gundersen  from  Aalesund;  O.  Christoffer  from 
Bergen  and  Louis  Gudmundsen  from  Stavanger.6 

According  to  these  lists  some  66  Norwegians  served  with  Admiral 
Dewey  at  Manila. 

Carl  Spetland  served  in  the  American  Navy  in  the  War  with  Spain.7 

Gerhard  C.  Moss,  born  in  Bergen  in  1866,  came  to  New  York  in 
1890  and  entered  the  American  Navy  the  same  year.  He  lost  his  life 

3Xordis\  Tidende,  April  1,  1926. 
4Hordis\  Tidende,  November  16,  1899. 
5?iordis\  Tidende,  April  5,  1900. 
6Kordis\  Tidende,  August  16,  1900. 
7?{ordis\  Tidende,  September  14,  1911. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

February  15,  1898,  when  the  battleship  Maine  exploded  in  Havana 

Karl  Christiansen  enlisted  in  the  Navy  in  1890.  He  is  a  survivor  of 
the  Maine  and  served  in  the  Philippines  Insurrection,  in  the  Boxer 
trouble,  and  in  an  uprising  at  Panama,  where  he  was  on  the  U.  S.  S. 
Cincinnati.  He  also  did  service  at  the  Navy  Yard  in  Brooklyn. 

j0rgen  Bakke,  quartermaster  on  board  the  cruiser  New  Yor\,  was 
one  of  the  sailors  on  board  the  steamer  Merrimac,  which  was  to  be  sunk 
in  the  narrow  entrance  to  Santiago  Harbor,  in  order  to  prevent  the  Span- 
ish Fleet  from  getting  out.  The  Menimac  was  loaded  with  stone,  and  the 
operation,  under  the  command  of  Lieutenant  Hobson,  was  only  partly 
successful,  as  the  steamer  drifted  over  to  one  side  of  the  entrance.  Bakke 
was  killed  by  a  cannon  ball.8 

Ingebrigt  0versa-t,  from  Lxrdal,  Sogn,  was  gunner  on  board  the 
cruiser  Brooklyn  in  the  battle  off  Santiago.  S0ren  Berntsen  from  Grim- 
stad,  sailor,  was  on  board  the  ship  at  the  same  time.9 

Sigvald  Eilertsen,  from  Farsund,  served  on  board  the  cruiser  Si. 
Louis  during  the  Spanish-American  War,  and  Charles  M.  Teller,  from 
Trondheim,  was  quartermaster  on  the  Tacoma  at  this  time.10 

Colonel  Hjalmar  Erickson  was  born  in  T0nsberg,  Norway,  and 
came  as  a  young  man  to  Brooklyn  in  1889.  He  was  a  brother  of  the  well- 
known  turner,  Charles  F.  Erickson.  Hjalmar  signed  on  as  a  private  in 
the  American  Army  and  became  Second  Lieutenant  in  1899.  He  subse- 
quently advanced  to  First  Lieutenant,  Captain,  Major  and  Colonel.  For 
his  service  in  France  in  the  World  War  he  was  awarded  the  Disting- 
uished Service  Medal.  In  the  citation  it  says  that  on  account  of  his  "tacti- 
cal ability,  courage  and  resourcefulness  in  the  operations,  his  Regiment 
was  enabled  to  take  every  one  of  its  objectives."  After  the  World  War, 
Erickson  served  for  some  time  as  instructor  at  the  General  Staff  College 
in  Washington. 

Gabriel  Aarvig,  born  in  Stavanger  in  1872,  came  to  New  York  in 
1889  and  became  captain  of  Company  G,  14th  Regiment,  New  York 
National  Guard,  in  1905.11 

Lieutenant  F.  L.  Knudsen  of  the  U.  S.  Army,  was  promoted  to 

8Ulvestad,  p.  253. 
9Ulvestad,  J^lordmcend  i  America. 
10Ulvestad,  T^ordmaend  i  America. 
^Hordisk  Tidende,  April  27,  1905. 

In  the  War  With  Spain 


Captain  in  1901.  He  served  with  his  Regiment  at  the  Battle  of  San  Juan 
Hill,  Cuba.12 

A  young  Brooklynite,  F.  H.  Svenson,  was  in  1902  made  Second 
Lieutenant  in  the  U.  S.  Army,  after  having  seen  service  in  the  Philippines. 

Nick  Nilsen,  Master-at-Arms  in  the  Navy,  was  a  veteran  from  both 
the  War  with  Spain  and  the  World  War,  and  retired  with  pension  in 
1924.  Nilsen  was  born  in  Grimstad.13 

Ole  Olsen,  Chief  Bos'un's  Mate,  retired  in  1917  after  twenty-four 
years  of  service  in  the  American  Navy.  It  was  Olsen's  intention  to  spend 
the  rest  of  his  days  in  his  birthplace,  Flekkefjord,  but  he  had  become  so 
used  to  the  life  in  the  Navy  that  he  changed  his  mind  and  signed  on  again. 


There  was  a  time,  some  25  or  30  years  ago,  when  the  United  States 
Coast  Guard  was  called  jokingly  "the  Scandinavian  Navy,"  writes  Olav 
Mosby  in  Nordmanns-Forbundet,  November-December,  1940.  Mr.  Mos- 
by,  who  some  years  ago  was  Chief  Oceanographer,  International  Ice  Pa- 
trol, in  the  Coast  Guard,  has  been  informed  that  about  1910  to  1915  close 
to  fifty  per  cent  of  the  boys  on  board  a  Coast  Guard  boat  might  be 
Scandinavians.  The  force  consists  of  12,000  men,  and  the  bulk  of  these, 
the  ordinary  seamen,  are  changing  all  the  time,  so  that  statistics  as  to  the 
number  of  Scandinavians  are  difficult  to  obtain.  Comparatively  few,  how- 
ever, are  now  of  Scandinavian  origin.  In  1930,  Mosby  found  that  of  all  the 
officers,  4  per  cent  had  Scandinavian  names  and  half  of  them  were  First 
Lieutenants.  Of  the  Cadets,  5  per  cent  were  Scandinavians;  of  the  War- 
rant Officers,  14  per  cent.  In  1939,  4V2  per  cent  of  the  officers  had  Scan- 
dinavian names.  About  60  per  cent  of  these  were  First  Officers.  Of  the 
Cadets,  8  per  cent  were  Scandinavians,  and  of  the  Warrant  Officers,  10 
per  cent.  Thus  it  will  be  seen  that  Scandinavian  names  have  increased 
among  the  Officers  (V2  per  cent)  and  among  the  Cadets  (3  per  cent), 
but  have  decreased  among  the  Warrant  Officers  (4  per  cent).  "Why  this 
decrease?"  asks  Mr.  Mosby.  The  answer  is  most  likely  that  the  average 
American  has  become  more  sea-conscious  and  seeks  such  positions  him- 
self, and  so  there  is  more  competition.  Citizenship  and  other  require- 

12Xordis\  Tidende,  March  14,  1901. 
137iordis\  Tidende,  August  28,  1924. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

ments  are  also  demanded  nowadays.  It  was  easier  for  a  newcomer  years 
ago  to  join  the  U.  S.  Coast  Guard. 

The  Merchant  Marine  Act  says:  "It  is  necessary  for  the  national  de- 
fense and  development  of  its  foreign  and  domestic  commerce  that  the 
United  States  shall  have  a  merchant  marine  manned  with  a  trained  and 
efficient  citizen  personnel.  It  is  hereby  declared  to  be  the  policy  of  the 
United  States  to  foster  the  development  and  encourage  the  maintenance 
of  such  a  merchant  marine." 

A  recent  questionnaire  subm.cted  to  more  than  300  American  sea- 
men showed  that  the  foreign  born  averaged  2i.47%,14  which  is  a  new 
low.  They  are  being  crowded  out. 

^American  Seamen,  No.  1,  p.  9. 



EARLIER  in  These  Pages  two  Scandinavian  newspapers  have  been 
mentioned,  Scandinavia  of  1847,  and  S\andinaven  of  1 851,  both  short- 
lived. The  last  mentioned  was  published  by  Gustav  0bom,  who  had  to 
give  up  the  work  for  a  time,  but  he  was  not  yet  through,  although  it  took 
him  ten  years  before  he  again  attempted  to  publish  a  Scandinavian  paper. 
In  1863  he  commenced  to  publish  S\andinavis\  Post,  which  lasted  for 
about  twelve  years,  until  1875.  The  paper  was  truly  Scandinavian;  it  had 
Swedish  and  Norwegian-Danish  text  and  the  space  was  divided  fairly 
among  the  three  nationalities.  One  of  the  many  contributors  to  the 
paper  was  James  Denoon  Reymert.  0bom  endeavored  to  present,  as  near- 
ly as  possible,  only  such  reading  matter  as  was  of  interest  to  the  Scandi- 
navian public  of  that  time.  Festivals,  theater  performances  and  meetings 
of  all  sorts  were  extensively  reported.  But  after  he  had  built  his  paper 
up  on  a  fairly  sound  economic  basis,  he  grew  careless,  dismissed  his  as- 
sistants and  tried  to  edit  the  paper  with  clippings  from  Scandinavian 
newspapers  from  the  other  side  of  the  ocean.  The  result  was  that  S\andi- 
navisl^  Post  dwindled  in  circulation  and  finally  folded  up.  The  Nord- 
stjernan,  an  exclusively  Swedish  language  paper,  was  started  in  1872 
and  is  still  being  published  in  New  York  by  Charles  K.  Johansen. 

In  1878  Nordis\e  Blade  saw  the  light  of  day.  It  lasted  for  32  years 
(until  1910)  and  was  published  by  Martin  Nielsen,  a  printer  from  Dram- 
men,  Norway.  Nordisf^e  Blade  was,  to  start  with,  published  twice  a 
month,  but  it  soon  gained  the  good-will  of  the  public,  so  that  it  was 
issued  weekly.  Nielsen  was  a  capable  editor,  and  as  the  paper  grew  he 
could  afford  to  engage  competent  assistants.  One  of  these  was  a  Dane, 
Andersen  by  name,  who  had  lived  in  Trondheim  for  some  time.  In 
Brooklyn  he  was  usually  called  "Barber  Andersen",  but  it  is  said  that  he 
could  handle  the  pen  with  the  same  dexterity  as  the  razor,  and  people 
liked  his  writings.  For  some  time  in  the  Eighties  R.  S.  N.  Sartz  edited 
the  paper  before  he  moved  to  Minneapolis  in  1887  and  later  to  Chicago 



Norwegians  in  New  York 

and  Washington,  D.  C.  While  he  lived  in  New  York,  he  was  employed 
at  Castle  Garden.  In  1884  Sartz  and  Louis  Lorange  published  a  weekly, 
Krydseien,  but  after  half  a  year  this  publication  merged  with  Nordiske 

Martin  Nielsen  was  alone  in  the  field,  until  the  beginning  of  1891, 
when  Nordis/^  Tidende  was  established.  "Old  Martin"  was  then  an  old 
man  and  little  inclined  to  take  up  the  fight  with  younger  and  more  ag- 
gressive people.  He  soon  sold  out  to  a  stock  company,  with  Dr.  Hans 
Volckmar  as  editor.  After  a  while  the  doctor  returned  to  Norway,  where 
he  became  editor  of  Dagbladet  in  Oslo.1  Nordiske  Blade  was  later  edited 
by  Sigurd  Folkestad,  who  changed  the  name  to  Den  Nors\e  Amerikaner, 
also  by  S.  Bryn,  Harald  Vaage  and  Hanna  Astrup  Larsen.  During  the 
last  years  of  the  paper's  existence,  this  publication  was  owned  by  Consul 
J.  P.  Holm,  who  also  was  publisher  of  Dans^-Amerif^aneren.  He  ceased 
publication  in  1910.  No  copies  of  Nordiske  Blade  from  the  period  be- 
tween 1878  and  1910  can  be  found  in  New  York.  At  Luther  College, 
Decorah,  Iowa,  there  are  copies  from  January,  1901,  to  February  13, 
1902. 2 

Martin  Nielsen,  with  his  Nordiske  Blade,  had  the  newspaper  field 
all  to  himself  for  thirteen  years — from  1878  to  January,  1 891,  when  a 
strong  competitor  appeared  in  the  Colony:  Nordisk  Tidende,  published 
by  Emil  Bernhard  Nielsen.  This  new  figure  in  the  Norwegian  Colony 
was  born  in  Norway  in  1859  and  came  to  America  in  1889.  He  was  a 
printer  by  trade  and  launched  his  paper  after  having  been  here  a  little 
more  than  one  year.  Nielsen  was  in  some  respects  an  able  man.  There 
was  a  certain  vigor  and  aggressiveness  about  him,  so  that,  in  spite  of  the 
fact  that  the  field  was  already  occupied  by  a  well-established  paper,  he 
managed  to  make  elbow  room  for  himself.  The  feeling  between  the  two 
papers  was  decidedly  bitter,  as  it  is  always  bound  to  be  where  two  papers 
are  fighting  to  maintain  themselves  in  a  field  large  enough  for  one  paper 
only.  Emil  Nielsen  had  youth  on  his  side  and  Nordisf^  Tidende  gradual- 
ly became  the  leading  Norwegian  newspaper  in  the  East.  In  1907,  he 
caught  a  severe  cold  which  developed  into  pneumonia.  Nielsen  was  only 
48  years  old  at  his  death. 

During  these  years  a  few  other  less  important  papers  had  been  pub- 

^ordisk  Tidende.  October  27,  1898;  March  7,  1901. 
2J^ors\-Ameri\anernes  Fests\rift,  p.  157'8-9. 



lished  in  Brooklyn,  but  none  of  them  lasted  very  long.  Koloniens  Argus 
was  a  humorous  paper  published  in  1895  and  1896  by  Christenson  and 
Christiansen.  Axel  Harstad  furnished  the  cartoons.  For  about  a  year 
Norges-Posten  was  published  by  A.  G.  Gulliksen  and  afterwards  Helge 
Amundsen  issued  some  numbers  of  a  paper  with  the  same  name.  Hvep- 
sen  was  started  as  a  humorous  paper  by  the  Scandinavian  News  Com- 
pany, with  Axel  Berglie  as  editor.  When  Harald  Vaage  became  editor, 
he  changed  the  name  to  Klceggen. 

After  the  death  of  Emil  Nielsen,  the  widow  ran  Nordisf^  Tidende 
for  a  while,  with  P.  C.  Christensen  as  editor.  The  paper  was  then 
purchased  by  the  Norwegian  News  Company  (E.  T.  Christensen  and 
David  Tulloch).  And  when  P.  C.  Christensen  withdrew  as  editor  in 
1907,  the  position  was  occupied  for  some  years  by  Franklin  Petersen  and 
for  a  brief  period  by  Harald  Vaage.  In  191 1,  A.  N.  Rygg  and  Sigurd  J. 
Arnesen  became  part  owners  of  Nordis/^  Tidende,  and  with  the  former 
as  editor  and  the  latter  as  business  manager,  the  paper  gained  ground 
rapidly  and  became  a  live  and  well-edited  journal,  which  enjoyed  the 
confidence  of  the  Norwegian  people  in  the  Colony. 

After  some  years  Rygg  and  Arnesen  became  sole  owners  of  the 
paper,  and  this  relationship  continued  until  November,  1929,  when  Rygg 
disposed  of  his  half  interest  to  Arnesen,  who  thus  became  sole  owner. 
Since  Rygg  stepped  out,  Hans  Olav  was  editor  until  1940,  with  Carl  J. 
S0yland  as  assistant  editor.  When  Hans  Olav  became  Norwegian  press 
attache,  S0yland  took  his  place  as  editor.  Nordist^  Tidende  continues  to 
occupy  an  excellent  position  in  its  field.  It  was  fifty  years  old  January 
1,  1941. 

For  the  last  twelve  years  the  paper  has  had  no  competitor.  It  has 
evidently  been  thoroughly  demonstrated  that  there  is  room  for  only  one 
good  Norwegian  newspaper  in  the  East.  When  Franklin  Petersen  left 
NordisI^  Tidende  in  191 1,  he  started  Nye  Norge,  which  lasted  for  about 
a  year  and  a  half.  Herolden  was  only  able  to  keep  going  for  a  few 
months,  and  Norges-Posten  (not  to  be  confused  with  earlier  papers  of 
the  same  name)  had  eaten  up  a  respectable  fortune  when  it  finally 
gave  up. 

A  paper  that  was  started  at  about  the  same  time  as  Nordis^  Tidende 
was  Nordlyset.  It  was  primarily  Danish,  of  course,  but  it  devoted  con- 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

siderable  space  to  Norwegian  affairs  and  had  many  Norwegian  readers, 
and  so  this  paper  should  be  mentioned  here.  John  Volk,  who  edited  the 
paper  until  his  death  in  1900,  was  a  "Scandinavian"  of  the  old  school, 
and  it  was  the  intention  that  the  paper  should  be,  not  Danish,  but  North- 
ern. Zakkarias  Hermansen,  a  Norwegian,  who  later  came  to  Nordis^ 
Tidende,  was  Volk's  assistant  for  a  while  in  the  beginning,  and  the  well- 
known  Danish  critic,  Clemens  Petersen,  was  also  attached  to  the  paper. 
Before  Petersen  left  Denmark,  he  had  defended  Bj0rnstjerne  Bj0rnson 
with  vigor  and  ability  against  unjust  and  vicious  attacks,  both  in  Den- 
mark and  Norway.  Bj0rnstjerne  Bj0rnson  was  then  at  the  outset  of  his 
literary  career. 

After  Volk's  death,  Emil  Oppfer  edited  Nordlyset  for  many  years. 
The  present  editor  is  Albert  Van  Sand. 

A  radical  newspaper,  Ny  Tid,  commenced  to  appear  in  1930.  It  was 
at  first  written  by  hand  and  circulated  among  interested  people,  many  of 
whom  were  out  of  work  due  to  the  prevailing  depression.  Einar  Sudland 
was  one  of  the  energetic  promoters  of  the  undertaking,  which  advocated 
the  cause  of  the  down-trodden  and  was  quite  liberal  with  its  personal  at- 
attacks.  In  1931  the  Sepco  Publishing  Company — the  Scandinavian  Edu- 
cational Publishing  Company — was  formed,  and  Ny  Tid  appeared  as  a 
regularly  printed  weekly.  The  economic  difficulties  proved,  however,  to 
be  insurmountable,  and  the  paper  disappeared  from  the  field  in  the 
Fall  of  1935. 

In  1929,  Karsten  Roedder  thought  there  might  be  room  for  a  fort- 
nightly publication,  in  which  considerable  attention  was  paid  to  literary 
and  artistic  matters.  He  also  relied  on  illustrations.  Roedder  failed  to 
find  sufficient  public  interest  in  his  undertaking  and  he  abandoned  the 
project  after  a  trial  of  nearly  a  year.  Three  years  earlier,  Roedder  had 
had  a  similar  experience  with  Symra,  a  fortnightly  publication  appealing 
entirely  to  literary-minded  readers. 




CAPTAIN  Magnus  Andersen  was  superintendent  of  the  Norwegian 
Sailors'  Home  for  about  two  and  one  half  years,  until  November  i, 

1889,  and  then  he  resigned  to  go  back  to  Norway.  The  Sailors'  Home 
was  well  established,  with  reliable  and  earnest  functionaries,  and  as  no 
improvement  or  expansion  was  possible  at  the  time,  Andersen  felt  that 
he  should  try  to  get  into  something  else  that  would  be  more  of  a  spur 
to  his  energy.  He  had,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  already  decided  to  publish 
Norges  Sj0fartslidende  in  Oslo.  The  first  number  was  issued  January  1, 

1890.  The  paper  remained  under  Andersen's  control  for  some  years,  but 
he  finally  had  to  sell  it  for  lack  of  sufficient  capital. 

Captain  Andersen  also  brought  another  plan  with  him  to  Norway. 
Before  he  left  New  York,  a  farewell  dinner  was  tendered  him  by  the 
Norwegian-American  Seamen's  Association,  of  which  he  had  been  elect- 
ed the  first  honorary  member.  At  this  dinner  the  idea  was  first  mentioned 
of  building  an  exact  copy  of  the  Viking  Ship  that  had  recently  been  found 
at  Gokstad,  Norway,  and  sailing  it  across  the  Atlantic  to  America.  (He 
had  already  tried  to  cross  in  a  small  sailboat.)  Such  a  trip  across  the 
ocean  was  feasible  and  would  demonstrate  that  the  story  of  Leiv  Eiriks- 
son's  discovery  of  America  was  no  mere  myth.1 

A  good  many  people  in  America  claimed  that  it  was  impossible  for 
such  a  small  open  ship  to  sail  across.  Andersen  succeeded  in  getting 
sufficient  money  together  to  have  the  ship  built.  It  had  on  board  a  crew 
of  twelve,  and  after  having  visited  a  number  of  towns  from  Oslo  west 
along  the  Norwegian  coast,  the  Viking  Ship  left  Bergen  April  30,  1893. 
The  Vising  proved  itself  very  seaworthy  and  no  particular  incidents  took 
place.  The  crew  considered  the  trip  more  or  less  a  picnic.  On  June  13, 
the  ship  anchored  at  New  London,  Conn.,  in  Long  Island  Sound. 

aNorwegian- American  Seamen's  Association,  Seventh  of  June  Festival  Program, 



Norwegians  in  New  York 

The  entrance  into  New  York  harbor  became  one  of  the  great  events 
in  the  history  of  the  Norwegian  Colony.  There  were  two  committees, 
one  American  and  one  Norwegian  (elected  by  the  Norwegian-American 
Seamen's  Association  and  other  societies  with  G.  T.  Ueland  as  chair- 
man). The  procession  into  the  harbor  was  led  by  Captain  Louis  Blix  on 
board  the  police  boat  John  Fuller,  followed  by  Vising  and  the  monitor 
Miantinona  and  a  fleet  of  yachts  and  smaller  vessels. 

According  to  August  Reymert,  who  had  forgotten  the  names  of  the 
members  of  the  crew  when  he  was  to  introduce  them  to  Mayor  Gilroy  at 
the  City  Hall,  the  presentation  ran  along  after  this  fashion: 

Reymert:  Mr.  Mayor,  allow  me  to  introduce  Mr.  Olaf  Trygvason! 

The  Mayor:  Very  proud  to  see  you,  Sir! 

R.:  And  this,  Mr.  Mayor,  is  Erling  Skakke! 

M.:  Delighted  to  see  you,  Sir! 

R.:  Permit  me — this  is  Haarek  of  Tj0tta! 

M.:  Indeed,  most  pleased  to  see  you,  Sir! 

R.:  Again,  and  I  present  to  you  Harald  Blaatand! 

M.:  Delighted! 

R.:  And  this  gentleman,  Mr.  Mayor,  is  Einar  Tambarskjadver! 
M.:  Ah!  and  I  hope  you  are  happy,  Sir,  with  such  a  name! 

Thereafter  came  Olaf  Digre,  Sven  Luseskjaeg  and  Magnus  Laga- 
b0ter,  etc.,  until  the  affair  was  finished  to  everybody's  satisfaction.2  Cap- 
tain Andersen  and  the  crew  received  the  freedom  of  the  City.  This  did 
not,  however,  prevent  the  crew  from  being  arrested,  and  stuck  in  the  cala- 
boose after  the  big  festival  in  Prospect  Hall.  They  had  gotten  into  an 
argument  with  some  Irishmen.  They  were,  of  course,  turned  loose  as 
soon  as  the  Judge  heard  of  the  case. 

From  New  York,  the  Viking  went  to  the  World's  Fair  in  Chicago 
via  the  Hudson,  the  Erie  Canal  and  across  the  Great  Lakes.  From  there 
the  ship  went  down  the  Mississippi  to  New  Orleans  and,  on  its  return 
to  Chicago,  it  was  presented  to  the  Park  Commission  and  placed  in 
Lincoln  Park,  where  it  still  remains. 

Captain  Andersen  returned  to  Norway,  where  his  later  career  was 
eventful,  both  stormy  and  distinguished.  He  died  in  Oslo  in  1938,  after 

2Xordis\  Tidende,  October  8,  1925. 

Various  Activities 


having  for  some  time  been  Norway's  first  Director  of  Shipping,  and 
thereafter  Chief  of  Shipping  in  Oslo.3 

Several  of  the  crew  on  board  the  Viking  settled  in  this  country. 
Rasmus  E.  Rasmussen  became  a  slum  missionary  on  Hamilton  Avenue, 
Brooklyn.  He  died  in  1912  as  a  Lutheran  pastor  at  Cox,  South  Dakota. 
His  son,  Elias,  also  became  a  minister. 

In  later  years  the  Atlantic  has  been  crossed  several  times  by  Norwe- 
gian seamen  in  small  vessels,  and  it  is  no  longer  a  novelty  and  does  not 
attract  much  attention.  In  1925  Pilot  Andreas  Grims0  from  Br0nn0y- 
sund,  sailed  across  to  New  York  in  a  two-masted  ketch,  Fcedrelandet. 
And  in  1926  Captain  Gerhard  Folger0  sailed  from  Norway  to  America 
in  his  boat,  Leiv  Eiri\sson,  built  somewhat  on  the  plan  of  a  Viking  ship. 
A  few  years  later  Captain  Folger0  repeated  the  trip  in  a  new  vessel,  built 
on  about  the  same  lines  as  the  first  boat.  This  boat  was  named  Roald 

Already  in  the  Eighties  Captain  Magnus  Andersen  had  made  his 
attempt  to  cross  the  Atlantic  from  east  to  west  in  his  little  sailboat  Ocean, 
but  the  attempt  was  abandoned  when  he  was  nearly  across,  for  lack  of 
provisions.  Ten  years  later,  two  Norwegian  Brooklynites  decided  that  the 
Atlantic  was  but  a  small  lake  and  they  simply  rowed  across.  Early  in 
1896  the  two  men,  George  G.  Harbo  and  Frank  G.  Samuelsen,  started  to 
build  an  18  foot  long  boat,  named  Fox,  for  this  purpose.  Harbo  was  31 
years  old  and  born  in  Sandefjord.  He  had  come  to  New  York  in  1882 
and  owned  his  own  fishing  sloop  Katydid.  He  was  a  navigator  from 
Norway  and  in  New  York  had  received  his  license  as  a  steamship  pilot. 
The  other  man,  Samuelsen,  was  equally  well  equipped  for  the  hazardous 
trip.  He  was  26  years  old  and  from  Farsund.  He  was  a  Hercules  in 
strength  and  it  was  related  that  in  1892  he  had  been  anchor  man  for  a 
Norwegian  tug-of-war  team  in  Buenos  Aires,  which  had  defeated  eigh- 
teen other  nationalities.  Samuelsen  also  owned  his  own  fishing  boat. 

The  Fox  left  the  Battery,  New  York,  June  6,  1896.  As  was  to  be 
expected,  the  trip  was  not  all  beer  and  skittles.  The  two  men  had  many 
troubles  and  tribulations,  and  once  the  boat  capsized,  so  that  half  the  pro- 

3Magnus  Andersen,  70  Aars  7ilba\ebli\. 
*Hordis\  Tidende,  June  25,  November  12,  1925. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

visions  were  lost,  but  they  persevered.  On  July  16  they  met  the  bark 
City  of  Larvi\,  and  they  went  on  board  for  a  little  while  to  stretch  their 
^egs  and  to  receive  provisions.  Fourteen  days  later  they  were  at  the  Scilly 
Islands,  and  on  August  7  arrived  at  Le  Havre,  France,  in  the  best  of 
shape.  It  is  needless  to  say  that  the  unique  trip  brought  a  great  deal  of 
applause  to  the  bold  sailors,  who,  however,  preferred  to  come  back  to 
New  York  by  steamer,  after  a  visit  to  their  homes  in  Norway.5 

After  this  successful  crossing  of  the  Atlantic,  people  felt  that  the  next 
thing  in  order  would  be  for  someone  to  swim  across. 


In  the  years  from  1900  to  1910,  201,789  persons  emigrated  from  Nor- 
way to  the  United  States,  as  follows: 

1900    10,931 

1 901    1 2,745 

I9°2    20,343 

1903    26,784 

1904    22,264 

I9°5   :   21,059 

1906    21,967 

I9°7   /   22,135 

1908    8,497 

1909    16,152 

1910    18,912 

New  York  and  Brooklyn  and  a  number  of  smaller  adjoining  towns 
were  consolidated  on  January  1,  1898.  At  the  nearest  census — in  1900 — 
the  population  in  the  consolidated  area  amounted  to  1,478,103.  Thirty 
years  later,  in  1930,  the  population  had  increased  to  6,930,446. 

In  the  population  of  Greater  New  York,  62,915  were  classed  as  Nor- 
wegians in  the  United  States  Census  for  1930.  Of  these  38,130  were  born 
in  Norway  and  24,785  were  born  here  of  parents  born  in  Norway  or 
were  of  mixed  parentage.  In  1900  there  were  only  11,387  Norwegian-born 
in  the  city.  In  1910  this  had  been  increased  to  25,013  born  in  Norway 
and  12,392  born  here  of  Norwegian  immigrants,  total  37,405.  This  may 

5Klordis\  Tidende,  February  7,  August  7,  September  4,  1896;  January  29,  1907; 
March  28,  1912. 

Various  Activities 


be  divided  as  follows:  Brooklyn,  23,090;  Manhattan,  5,343;  Bronx,  1,809; 
Queens,  889;  Staten  Island,  2,048;  total  33,179.  In  the  whole  State,  37,404-6 
The  Norwegian  population  in  New  York  State  was  in  1850:  392; 
in  i860:  539;  in  1870:  975;  in  1880:  2,185;  m  1890:  8,602.  In  New  Jersey 
in  i860:  65;  in  1870:  90;  in  1880:  229;  in  1890:  1,317.  By  1930  the  Nor- 
wegian population  in  New  Jersey  had  increased  to  5,351  born  in  Norway 
and  3,001  born  here  of  Norwegian  immigrants.  For  Massachusettes  the 
corresponding  figures  are  5,432  and  2,938,  total  8,370. 

The  years  around  the  turn  of  the  century  and  up  to  the  time — in 
1 917 — when  the  United  States  entered  the  World  War,  were  prosperous 
years  for  the  Norwegian-Americans.  They  had  been  steadily  growing 
in  influence  and  economic  strength,  and  the  heavy  immigration,  which 
continued  unabated,  added  rapidly  to  their  number.  This  increase  greatly 
augmented  the  power  of  the  Norwegian  group,  which  felt  able  to  under- 
take many  new  and  desirable  projects.  In  all  sorts  of  ways  the  Norwegians 
tried  to  better  themselves.  They  wanted  to  be  an  honor  to  the  old  coun- 
try, as  well  as  an  asset  to  their  adopted  land,  and  this  feeling  expressed 
itself  in  many  laudable  ways.  The  Norwegian  Colony  flourished. 

Later  came  the  restrictions  in  immigration;  the  foreigners  were 
not  looked  upon  with  quite  as  friendly  eyes  as  before,  and  the  economic 
debacle  of  1929  put  a  damper  on  many  activities  for  years  to  come. 

The  strength  of  the  Norwegians  in  Brooklyn  has  in  no  small  meas- 
ure rested  on  the  fact  that  a  large  proportion  of  them  have  been  living 
close  to  one  another  in  Bay  Ridge.  When  anything  of  consequence  comes 
up,  a  group  of  people  living  in  the  same  neighborhood  is  more  easily 
reached  and  aroused  than  the  same  number  of  people  scattered  over  a 
large  area.  This  will  explain  the  reason  why  the  Norwegians  often  have 
been  far  more  successful  in  doing  things  than  their  numbers  would  indi- 
cate. They  are  now,  however,  rapidly  moving  out  to  the  suburbs. 

A  great  many  of  the  Norwegians  in  New  York  spend  their  vacations 
in  the  Catskill  Mountains  and  nearby  places,  where  numerous  country- 
men run  boarding  houses  and  receive  guests  in  the  season.  The  Catskills 
offer  very  fine  scenery  and  are  only  about  100  miles  from  New  York. 

As  a  rule,  the  Norwegians  are  law-abiding  people  and  have  no  trou- 

6Norlie;  World  Almanac;  7iordis\  Tidende,  January  7,  1898;  January  11,  1912; 
April  7,  1913. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

ble  with  the  police.  And,  if  they  do,  it  is  usually  for  minor  infrac- 
tions, such  as  fist  fights  and  disorderly  conduct  due  to  intoxication.  They 
seldom  resort  to  any  other  weapons  than  their  fists,  though  occasionally 
this  rule  is  broken. 

In  February,  1941,  Hon.  George  W.  Martin,  senior  judge  of  Kings 
County  Court  (Brooklyn),  made  the  following  statement: 

"I  was  a  lawyer  and  assistant  district  attorney  for  25  years  prior  to 
my  ascension  to  the  bench  20  years  ago.  In  all  my  long  experience  as  a 
lawyer,  prosecutor  and  jurist  I  have  rarely  seen  a  Norwegian  guilty  or 
charged  with  any  offense.  As  a  race  of  people  they  are  honest,  law-abid- 
ing, trustworthy  and  efficient  and  are  a  credit  to  our  nation."7 

The  Census  Bureau  came  to  the  conclusion  on  the  basis  of  the  Census 
of  1910,  that  the  immigrant  Norwegian  population  in  America  number- 
ed 403,858  persons,  and  that  out  of  these,  only  2,585  had  committed 
major  and  minor  offenses  and  had  been  punished  by  imprisonment.  Of 
this  number  as  many  as  1,852,  or  72  per  cent,  had  been  punished  for 
drunkenness  and  disorderly  conduct.  So  only  733  persons,  or  less  than 
two  persons  per  thousand,  actually  violated  the  law  in  a  more  serious 
manner.  This  gives,  the  Norwegian  element  an  excellent  showing  in 
criminal  statistics.8 

Of  well-known  Norwegian  visitors  to  New  York  in  the  years  around 
the  turn  of  the  century,  may  be  mentioned  L.  O.  Skrefsrud,  missionary 
in  Santhalistan,  1894;  C.  Egeberg  Borchgrevink,  South  Pole  explorer, 
1896;  Pastor  Storjohann,  the  Seamen's  Mission,  1896;  Fridtjof  Nansen, 
back  from  Farthest  North,  received  with  parade  and  folk  festival,  1897; 
Cyclist  Henie,  father  of  Sonja,  1900;  Hans  Seland,  1904;  Thoralv  Klave- 
ness,  1904;  Harold  Stormoen,  actor,  1904;  The  Norwegian  Students' 
Singing  Society  and  Rolf  Hammer,  1905;  Ole  Bang,  reader  and  author, 
1905;  Roald  Amundsen,  1907;  Captain  Otto  Sverdrup,  1907;  Gaston 
Borch,  cellist,  1907;  Bishop  Anton  Bang,  1908;  Captain  H.  Angell  from 
Nordmanns  -  Forbundet,  1909;  Gina  Krog,  suffragist,  1909;  Axel 
Maurer,  lecturer,  1910;  Eyvind  Alnars,  composer,  191 1;  Halfdan  Jebe, 
violinist  and  wife,  actress,  191 1;  Scandinavian  Art  Exhibition,  American 
Art  Galleries,  Henrik  Lund,  director,  1912;  Bishop  B0ckman  and  Rev. 

77^ordis\  Tidende,  February  13,  1941. 
*Hordis\  Tidende,  July  31,  1919. 

Various  Activities 


Hans  Nielsen  Hauge,  1912;  Anders  Hovden,  pastor  and  poet,  1913;  Hulda 
Garborg,  1913;  Bishop  Bernt  St0ylen,  1913;  Roald  Amundsen,  1913;  C.  J. 
Hambro,  1913;  Ludvig  Saxe,  1913;  Director  General  Sam  Eyde,  1914; 
Ellen  Gleditch,  studying  radium,  1914;  Bishop  Johan  Lunde,  1914;  Oscar 
Mathisen,  skating  champion,  1916. 

In  1908  some  twenty  Norwegian  families,  led  by  S0ren  Christiansen, 
decided  to  form  a  corporation  and  move  out  to  Rowland,  Pike  County, 
Pennsylvania,  where  a  large  stretch  of  land  had  been  secured  at  six 
dollars  per  acre.  Each  family  was  to  select  the  plot  desired  for  its  own 
use  and  build  thereon,  but  a  sawmill  and  also  a  stone  quarry  was  to  be 
operated  in  common.  It  was  assumed  that  the  people  would  be  able  to 
support  themselves  by  working  cooperatively  and  by  other  local  work. 
The  land  proved,  however,  to  be  very  poor,  mostly  stone,  the  timber  was 
soon  cut  down  and  the  quarry  could  not  compete  with  the  artificial  stone 
which  was  then  coming  into  use.  The  result  was  that  the  corporation 
was  abandoned  and  most  of  the  people  moved  away  for  lack  of  work. 
Of  the  original  Norwegian  settlers  there  are  only  a  few  left.  The  place 
is  still  used  to  some  extent  by  summer  residents  and  people  on  vacation. 
Rowland  is  114  miles  from  New  York  City  and  is  1100  feet  above  sea 

A  tragedy  took  place  in  July,  1909,  when  the  fishing  sloop  Roxana, 
Captain  Jacob  Samuelsen,  capsized  outside  Norton  Point,  Coney  Island. 
There  were  about  twenty  people  on  board,  all  members  of  the  Society 
Fjeldblomsten,  out  for  an  excursion  on  the  water.  Nine  persons,  all  Nor- 
wegians, were  drowned.10 

After  the  great  fire  in  Aalesund  in  1904,  which  destroyed  a  consider- 
able part  of  the  town,  a  committee  in  Brooklyn  collected  some  14,000  kr. 
to  be  used  for  the  alleviation  of  suffering  among  the  inhabitants.11 

Some  of  the  people  of  other  nationalities  who  have  lived  in  strongly 
Norwegian  districts  in  Brooklyn  have  learned  the  Norwegian  language 
through  force  of  circumstances. 

In  1895,  when  the  relations  between  Norway  and  Sweden  were 
growing  rather  precarious,  owing  to  Norway's  insistence  on  a  separate 

information  furnished  by  Mr.  Edward  Flotten. 
™Hordis\  Tidende,  July  22,  1909. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

consular  service,  a  group  of  Norwegians  in  Brooklyn  formed  a  committee 
for  the  purpose  of  collecting  money  for  a  defense  fund.  The  preliminary 
committee  consisted  of  Hans  Balling,  Dr.  P.  Groth,  Dr.  H.  Volckmar, 
Emil  Nielsen,  H.  Hammerstad,  I.  Kopperud,  C.  Lasson,  O.  Owren  and 
H.  Reimers.  There  seems  to  have  been  more  enthusiasm  than  solid  sub- 
stance in  the  undertaking,  and  the  money  was  not  required  anyway,  as 
things  on  the  other  side  cooled  down  for  the  time  being.  When  the  com- 
mittee disbanded  in  1899,  sufficient  money  had  been  received  to  pay  for 
64  rifles,  and  these  were  donated  to  the  central  office  of  the  Sharpshooters 
Organizations  in  Norway. 

It  goes  without  saying  that  the  political  dissensions  between  Norway 
and  Sweden  were  followed  with  the  keenest  interest  by  the  Norwegians 
in  the  United  States.  And  the  feelings  here  between  them  and  the  Swedes 
were  most  of  the  time  very  bitter.  The  newspapers  of  the  two  groups 
would  often  engage  in  violent  discussions,  and  at  one  time  in  the  Nineties 
(1894),  when  feelings  ran  particularly  high,  the  Norwegian-American 
Seamen's  Association  cut  the  Union  sign  out  of  its  flag  and  sent  the  cut- 
ting to  the  Norwegian  Storting,  with  the  request  that  the  Storting  keep 
on  protesting  until  the  full  rights  of  Norway  had  been  attained.  The  dis- 
agreement concerned  mainly  the  establishment  of  a  separate  Norwegian 
consular  service,  but  complete  freedom  of  the  country  was  involved.  Final- 
ly, on  June  7,  1905,  the  Norwegian  Storting  declared  the  Union  with 
Sweden  dissolved,  and  this  action  was  ratified  by  the  people  on  August 
13,  by  a  vote  of  368,384  to  184.  The  leaders  of  the  Norwegian  people 
during  these  critical  times  were  Prime  Minister  Christian  Michelsen  and 
Foreign  Minister  j0rgen  L0vland. 

It  became  a  question  of  obtaining  recognition  of  independence  from 
the  various  countries.  Mr.  J.  Irgens,  later  Foreign  Minister,  and  Mr. 
Chr.  Hauge,  who  had  been  Secretary  of  the  Norwegian-Swedish  Legation 
in  Washington,  assisted  by  Mr.  F.  H.  Gade  of  Chicago,  endeavored  un- 
officially to  prevail  on  the  Government  of  the  United  States — Theodore 
Roosevelt,  President,  and  Elihu  Root,  Secretary  of  State — to  recognize 
Norway.  At  the  same  time,  Americans  of  Norwegian  birth  or  extraction 
all  over  the  country  addressed  petitions  to  Theodore  Roosevelt.  A  mon- 
ster petition  from  Chicago,  bearing  20,000  signatures,  was  sent  to  the 

^Hordis\  Tidende,  March  10,  1904. 

Various  Activities 


President  at  Oyster  Bay,  and  Senator  Dolliver  presented  a  memorial  from 
Fort  Dodge,  Iowa.  Similar  petitions  came  from  Boston,  and  from  North 
Dakota,  and  other  places.  But  the  United  States  decided  to  await  the 
action  of  Sweden,  which  formally  recognized  the  independent  status  of 
Norway  on  October  27,  1905.  The  United  States  followed  suit  a  few 
days  later.  Prince  Charles  of  Denmark  declared  himself  willing  to  ac- 
cept the  throne,  if  the  Norwegian  people  should  signify  their  consent 
through  a  general  plebiscite.  The  Storting  accordingly  ordered  a  plebis- 
cite to  be  held,  November  12-13.  And  four-fifths  of  the  total  number  of 
votes  cast  were  registered  in  favor  of  the  monarchial  form  of  government 
and  the  election  of  Prince  Charles,  who  took  the  name  of  King  Haakon 
the  Seventh.  Ever  since  the  separation,  which  thus  was  effected  without 
bloodshed,  the  relations  between  the  two  peoples  have  been  excellent.12 

In  that  glorious  year  of  1905,  the  Norwegians  in  America  were  for 
the  first  time  visited  by  a  Norwegian  student  chorus.  O.  A.  Gr0ndahl 
was  the  conductor,  and  Rolf  Hammer  was  the  soloist,  and  the  tour  was 
a  great  success  from  start  to  finish.  Grieg's  "Den  store  hvite  flok",  has 
been  a  great  favorite  ever  since. 

The  Peace  Bell  (the  Liberty  Bell),  which  Norwegian  women  in 
Greater  New  York  gave  to  Norway  in  memory  of  the  events  of  1905, 
was  placed  in  the  tower  of  the  Fortress  of  Akershus  and  was  heard  for 
the  first  time,  May  17,  1909.  The  bell  was  made  in  Norway,  weighs  1250 
kg.  and  cost  4,000  kr.  The  campaign  for  the  collection  of  funds  was  led 
by  Mrs.  Euphrosyne  B.  Ambrosen,  Brooklyn.  Mrs.  Chr.  Lund,  Mrs. 
M0ller-Ambj0rnsen  and  Mrs.  E.  Ericksen  served  on  the  committee. 

The  case  regarding  F.  Herman  Gade's  Norwegian  citizenship  made 
a  good  deal  of  a  stir  both  in  Norway  and  America.  Gade,  who  had 
been  living  in  Chicago  for  many  years,  and  was  an  American  citizen, 
went  to  Norway  in  191 1  to  enter  the  diplomatic  service  of  that  country. 
This  was  said  to  be  in  accordance  with  an  understanding  which  he  had 
reached  with  Mr.  J.  Irgens,  Minister  of  Foreign  Affairs  in  Norway,  when 
this  gentleman  was  on  a  visit  to  the  United  States.  However,  when  Gade 
arrived  in  Norway  he  was  informed  by  the  Foreign  Department  that  he 
could  not  become  a  citizen  of  Norway  until  two  years  after  he  had  given 

12Gjerset,  History  of  the  "Norwegian  People.  H.  Fred  Swansen,  The  Attitude  of 
the  United  States  Toward  Tiprway  in  the  Crisis  of  1905. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

notice  that  it  was  his  intention  to  change  citizenship.  This  placed  Gade 
in  an  awkward  position,  as  he  had  broken  off  his  connections  in  America. 

It  was  Gade's  contention  that  when  a  person  born  in  Norway,  who 
has  become  an  American  citizen,  returns  to  Norway  and  declares  his 
purpose  to  settle  there,  he  is  thereby  a  Norwegian  citizen  without  any 
further  ado.  In  1914  Gade's  contention  was  upheld  by  the  Norwegian 
courts.  Some  three  years  had,  however,  passed,  so  that  the  case  ceased  to 
have  any  practical  importance  to  Mr.  Gade.  But  the  decision  is  of  interest 
to  other  natives  of  Norway  who  may  want  to  regain  their  old  citizenship. 
In  due  time  Gade  became  a  Norwegian  citizen  and  served  Norway  as 
Consul  General  and  as  Minister.13 

Commander  John  Allyne  Gade,  a  brother  of  Consul  and  Minister 
Herman  F.  Gade,  was  born  in  Cambridge,  Mass.,  in  1875.  He  was 
brought  up  in  Oslo,  where  his  father  was  American  Consul  for  many 
years.  His  mother,  Helen  Rebecca  Gade,  was  American-born.  He  gradu- 
ated from  Harvard  University  in  1896  and  established  himself  as  an 
architect  in  New  York  City.  He  was  very  active  and  helpful  in  Norwe- 
gian and  other  Scandinavian  affairs.  About  1912  he  served  as  President 
of  the  American-Scandinavian  Society  (Foundation),  and  he  wrote 
books  on  Charles  XII,  King  of  Sweden,  and  Christian  IV,  King  of  Den- 
mark and  Norway.  Together  with  his  mother,  he  translated  Norwegian 
Fairy  Tales.  During  the  World  War,  Gade  served  as  Naval  Attache  in 
Copenhagen,  with  the  title  of  commander.  He  was  later  appointed  High 
Commissioner  to  the  Baltic  Provinces  (Estland,  Latvia  and  Letland), 
with  headquarters  at  Riga.  He  also  acted  as  assistant  to  Herbert  Hoover 
in  the  American  Relief  Work  in  Belgium.  Gade  received  the  Navy  Cross 
in  1920.  He  is  now  in  the  diplomatic  service  of  the  United  States. 

K.  G.  M.  Woxen,  who  for  many  years  had  served  in  the  Foreign 
Department  of  Norway  and  Sweden,  became  Consul  at  New  York  in 
1 891.  He  seems  to  have  been  rather  disliked  in  Norwegian  circles  in 
New  York,  and  he  was  subject  to  continual  attacks  by  Nordisf^  Tidende. 
In  1893  Woxen  sued  the  editor,  Emil  Nielsen,  for  libel,  Nielsen  having 
accused  the  Consul  of  negligent  treatment  of  sailors  from  a  Norwegian 
ship,  but  the  case  was  dropped  because  of  some  legal  technicality. 

^Xordis\  Tidende,  October  19,  1911;  September  17,  1914. 

Various  Activities 


It  created  a  sensation  when,  in  March,  1898,  it  was  learned  that 
Woxen  had  disappeared,  leaving  a  shortage  in  his  accounts  of  about  kr. 
137,000.  This  was  money  Woxen  had  received  from  various  sources  for 
remittance  to  Norway  and  Sweden.  The  police  instituted  a  search  for 
him,  but  he  was  never  heard  of  afterwards.  Gambling  was  said  to  be  the 
cause  of  the  defalcation.  Woxen  was  50  years  old  and  unmarried.  The 
governments  of  Norway  and  Sweden  covered  the  deficit. 

Carl  Alfred  Christiansen  who  died  in  January,  1903,  as  Chief  Ar- 
morer at  the  government's  cannon  foundry,  U.  S.  Arsenal,  at  Watervliet, 
West  Troy,  New  York,  came  to  the  United  States  from  Oslo  in  1878.  He 
had  served  his  apprenticeship  as  a  mechanic  at  Aker's  Mechanical  Works 
and  later  graduated  from  Christiania  Technical  School.  He  worked  for 
two  years  in  Philadelphia  and  was  then  employed  by  the  government  at 
the  arsenal  at  Watertown,  Mass.  Later  he  was  transferred  to  Troy,  New 
York,  where  he  was  highly  esteemed. 

Christiansen's  last  job  attracted  much  attention.  It  was  the  world's 
largest  cannon  at  the  time,  49 '/2  feet  long.  This  cannon  weighed  130 
tons  and  had  a  reach  of  20 x/i  English  miles,  and  the  16-inch  projectile 
weighed  2500  pounds.  It  was  mounted  at  Sandy  Hook.  Many  of  the  big 
guns  used  in  the  war  with  Spain  were  turned  out  by  Christiansen. 

To  judge  by  the  names  Christiansen  gave  his  children,  he  must  have 
been  a  very  patriotic  Norwegian.  His  four  sons  were  named  Henrik 
Wergeland,  Johan  Sverdrup,  Bj0rnstjerne  Bj0rnson  and  Johannes  Steen. 
The  daughter's  name  was  Ambj0rg  Harriet.  Christiansen  lies  buried  at 

One  of  the  first  to  receive  the  St.  Olav  Order  in  New  York  was  God- 
fred  Pedersen,  who  was  born  in  T0nsberg  in  1861  and  who  came  to 
New  York  in  1880.  For  thirty  years  he  was  employed  by  the  American 
Express  Company  and  was  regarded  as  an  authority  in  customs  matters. 
In  1894  Pedersen  was  made  a  Knight  of  St.  Olav  in  recognition  of  as- 
sistance rendered  in  forwarding  the  Norwegian  exhibits  to  the  World's 
Fair  in  1893.  He  died  in  1912.14 

The  carpenter-contractor  Johan  Dybvig  was  born  in  Flekkefjord  in 
1866  and  came  to  Brooklyn  in  1889.  He  has  for  many  years  been  a  mem- 

147^.ordis\  Tidende,  November  7,  1912. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

ber  of  the  Board  of  Directors  of  the  Norwegian  Seamen's  Church  and 
has  otherwise  interested  himself  in  many  worthy  endeavors. 

Theodor  Kartevold,  born  in  Sandness,  a  small  town  about  eight 
miles  south  of  Stavanger,  came  to  New  York  in  1 88  r,  at  the  age  of  nine- 
teen. He  had  his  jewelry  business  at  61  Hamilton  Avenue  for  many  years. 
Later  he  moved  to  5718  Fifth  Avenue,  Brooklyn.  Kartevold  is  one  of  the 
old  members  of  the  Norwegian  Singing  Society  and  trustee  of  the  Nor- 
wegian Children's  Home,  where  for  years  he  has  been  treasurer. 

Herman  N.  Hansen  was  born  in  1871  and  came  to  New  York  with 
his  parents  at  the  age  of  nine.  He  studied  law  and  began  his  practice 
in  1902.  He  was  also  very  much  interested  in  politics  and  it  looked  as  if 
he  had  a  promising  future  before  him,  when  he  died  at  a  comparatively 
early  age. 

Mrs.  Lucius  M.  Boomer  (nee  }0rgine  Slettede)  is  a  woman  of  promi- 
nence in  New  York  City,  where  her  husband  is  president  of  the  Waldorf- 
Astoria  Hotel,  one  of  the  largest  and  most  modern  hotels  in  the  world. 
Mrs.  Boomer,  who  was  born  in  B0verdalen,  a  branch  of  Gudbrandsdalen, 
Norway,  came  to  America  at  the  age  of  fourteen.  She  took  a  nurse's 
training  course  and  was  graduated  as  a  nurse.  On  the  farm  of  her  par- 
ents, which  is  at  the  upper  end  of  B0verdalen,  right  below  Galdh0piggen, 
she  has  built  the  Villa  Jotunheim,  which  she  often  visits  in  the  summer 
time.  In  recognition  of  her  great  interest  in  Norwegian  affairs,  King 
Haakon  of  Norway  has  awarded  her  the  Norwegian  Medal  of  Merit  in 

Myrtle  Dahl  of  Fargo,  North  Dakota,  was  married  to  Ralph  Hitz, 
who  died  in  January,  1940.  He  was  president  of  the  Hotel  New  Yorker.lj 

A  well-known  woman  among  Norwegians  in  New  York,  Mrs. 
Georgia  Olava  Stevenson,  died  in  March,  1941,  85  years  old.  She  was 
born  in  Trondheim  and  came  to  New  York  in  1 881,  where  she  married 
the  well-known  mine  owner  and  engineer,  Robert  Stevenson. 

Miss  Anna  Sigmond,  from  Fister,  near  Stavanger,  is  a  well  known 
specialist  in  the  care  of  the  mouth  and  teeth.  In  1924  she  introduced 
lecture  courses  in  dental  hygiene  in  Norway  and  was  awarded  the  Medal 
of  Merit  in  silver  by  King  Haakon  of  Norway. 

Miss  Elise  Hansen  Siljan,  who  died  in  April,  191 1,  was  born  in 

16J\(eu>  Tor\  Times,  January  13,  1940. 

Various  Activities 


Lardal,  near  Oslo,  in  1856,  and  came  to  New  York  in  1884.  She  prac- 
ticed as  masseuse  in  wealthy  families,  and  she  did  much  to  introduce 
Norwegian  domestic  industry,  particularly  Hardanger  embroidery  in 
America.  For  this  purpose  she  published  the  Twentieth  Century  Pattern 

Magnus  Larsen,  who  was  born  in  Oslo  in  1855,  and  came  to  America 
in  1885,  died  in  December,  1939,  in  Long  Island  City,  84  years  old.  Lar- 
sen was  a  contractor  in  Long  Island  City  for  many  years,  and  he  took  an 
active  part  in  politics.  He  was  also  a  trustee  of  the  Eger  Home  for  the 
Aged,  and  he  was  a  charter  member  of  the  Norwegian  Church  in  Green- 

Ole  Salthe,  who  came  with  his  parents  from  Stavanger  at  the  age  of 
eight,  served  the  City  of  New  York  for  twenty  years  as  an  expert  on 
foods  and  drugs.  After  having  retired  with  a  pension,  Salthe  has  acted  as 
a  consultant  for  private  concerns  in  food  and  drug  matters.17 

Edward  O.  Lee,  born  in  Molde,  Romsdalen,  in  1852,  established 
himself  as  a  banker  and  ticket  agent  in  Brooklyn.  He  also  sent  money 
orders  to  Norway.  He  was  highly  esteemed  and  he  developed  an  ex- 
tensive business.  But  when  he  died  in  the  Spring  of  1903,  it  was  discov- 
ered that  he  was  insolvent.  His  affairs  were  in  a  sad  state,  so  that  many 
lost  their  hard-earned  money  through  him. 

Gustav  Hamre,  from  Topdal,  near  Kristiansand,  came  to  New  York 
about  1880  and  succeeded  in  establishing  himself  as  a  boss  painter.  Later 
he  moved  to  Brandford,  Conn.,  where  he  became  a  highly  respected  citi- 
zen. At  one  time  he  built  a  Viking  ship,  which  he  placed  on  a  truck  and 
carted  about  town.  The  strange  vessel  created  much  favorable  comment.18 

Dr.  Hjalmar  V.  Barclay  was  born  in  Oslo  in  i860.  In  1881  he  took 
part  in  the  international  gymnastic  competition  in  France  and  was  one  of 
a  team  of  twelve  Norwegians  which  won  the  gold  medal.  After  receiving 
an  A.B.  and  an  A.M.  from  the  University  of  Oslo,  he  came  to  New  York 
and  in  1893  was  graduated  from  the  Medical  School  of  New  York  Uni- 
versity. He  died  in  1941. 

Christian  Tjosevig,  from  Sandnaes,  near  Stavanger,  who  about  the 

™Hordis\  Tidende,  April  13,  1911. 

17Xordis\  Tidende,  July  29,  1920;  August  14,  1924. 

18A.  S.  Andersen,  Brooklyn,  to  author. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

year  1900  owned  a  shoe  store  in  Hamilton  Avenue,  Brooklyn,  joined  the 
Klondykc  rush  and  was  one  of  those  fortunate  enough  to  find  gold.19 

In  the  Eighties  and  Nineties,  H.  A.  J.  Helvig,  an  energetic  tinsmith 
from  Stavanger,  owned  a  successful  lantern  factory  in  New  York.  He 
died  in  1906  at  the  age  of  46.  His  widow,  Signe  Helvig,  married  Hjal- 
mar  Geruldscn,  who  carried  on  the  business  for  many  years.20 

August  Larsen,  born  in  Oslo,  emigrated  to  Tacoma  in  1878.  He 
moved  to  New  York  some  years  later  and  was  employed  by  the  National 
City  Bank  for  32  years.  He  was  a  very  generous  and  helpful  man.  Larsen 
died  in  1939,  77  years  old,  as  the  result  of  being  run  over  by  a  motorcycle. 
He  was  the  father  of  Mrs.  Sophus  Kjeldsen.21 

In  1906  Herman  Stalberg  had  been  librarian  of  the  Union  Club, 
New  York,  for  thirteen  years.  He  then  accepted  a  position  as  cataloger 
with  the  large  music  house,  G.  Schirmer,  Inc. 

The  Saturday  Evening  Post  for  August  17  and  24,  1940,  carried  some 
articles  under  the  title  Adventures  of  a  White-Collar  Man,  by  Alfred  P. 
Sloan,  Jr.,  now  chairman  of  the  Board  of  General  Motors.  He  tells  of 
his  partnership,  about  1900,  with  a  Norwegian,  Peter  Severin  Steenstrup, 
by  name,  in  the  Hyatt  Roller  Bearings  Company.  Sloan  states  that 
Steenstrup  was  a  fine  man  to  deal  with  and  an  excellent  salesman.  The 
factory  was  situated  in  Newark,  N.  J. 

J.  T.  Tengelsen,  from  Ris0r,  came  to  the  United  States  in  1889,  and 
in  1892  started  the  first  Norwegian  drug  store  in  Brooklyn.  He  was  for 
years  a  member  of  the  Board  of  Directors  of  the  Norwegian  Sailors' 
Home,  and  he  had  much  to  do  with  the  establishment  of  the  Norwegian 
Children's  Home.  Tengelsen  died  in  1922. 

Dr.  Joseph  Refsum,  born  at  Romerike,  Norway,  in  1862,  came  to 
America  in  1884,  where  he  became  a  dentist  with  practice  in  Manhattan. 

Dr.  Harald  Bryn  was  born  in  Trondheim  in  1858  and  came  to  Brook- 
lyn in  1888. 

Dr.  Anna  Tjomsland,  born  in  Lunde  in  S0gne,  near  Kristiansand, 
studied  medicine  at  Cornell  University.  She  has  been  in  practice  in  New 
York  City  for  many  years.  Dr.  Tjomsland  served  at  Vichy,  France,  dur- 
ing the  first  World  War,  and  she  is  writing  a  book  about  her  experiences. 

™7\ordis\  Tidende,  December  14,  1905. 
*°Hordis\  Tidende,  April  26,  1895. 
2l7iordis\  Tidende,  October  5,  1939. 

Various  Activities 


Theodore  Siqueland,  born  in  Stavanger  in  1861,  came  to  Brooklyn 
at  the  age  of  twenty.  He  studied  dentistry,  which  he  practiced  until  his 
death  in  1916.  He  was  for  many  years  a  member  of  the  Board  of  Mana- 
gers of  the  Norwegian  Hospital.22 

Frederik  Nannestad  Bj0rn  came  to  Brooklyn  in  1883,  where  he  prac- 
ticed dentistry  until  he  died  in  1906,  49  years  old.  He  was  often  a  speaker 
on  patriotic  occasions. 

22J^lordis\  Tidende,  December  21,  1916. 



STATEN  ISLAND  Lies  Opposite  Bay  Ridge  at  the  Narrows  which  is 
the  entrance  to  the  Harbor  of  New  York.  It  is  one  of  the  five  bor- 
oughs of  the  City  and  its  official  name  is  the  Borough  of  Richmond.  The 
first  white  settlers,  that  is  to  say  the  Dutch  and  those  with  them,  came 
to  Staten  Island  in  1609.  As  a  good  many  Norwegians  came  to  New 
Amsterdam  in  those  early  days,  it  would  be  natural  if  some  of  them 
found  their  way  to  Staten  Island  and  settled  there. 

Mr.  John  Frohlin,  who  is  an  old  Staten  Islander,  has  called  attention 
to  the  fact  that  the  voluminous  work,  Staten  Island  and  Its  People  by 
Leng  and  Davis,  1929,  records  many  names  from  the  early  days,  such  as 
Peter  Johnson,  John  Hendrickson,  Albert  Jonson,  Hendrik  Johnson,  Jacob 
Jonson,  Cornelius  Jonson,  Christian  Jacobson  (Captain  of  Militia),  Peter 
Petersen,  Frederich  Berge,  Jacob  Berge,  etc.  These  names,  or  some  of 
them,  may,  of  course,  be  Norwegian,  but  they  may  also  be  Swedish,  Dan- 
ish, Dutch,  or  English,  and  there  is  nothing  whatever  in  the  volumes  to 
support  a  definite  claim.  The  actual  facts  can  only  be  ascertained  through 
a  special  study. 

Jan  Arentszen  van  der  Bilt,  who  has  been  mentioned  in  an  earlier 
chapter,  was  married  three  times,  the  first  time  to  a  Norwegian  woman, 
Anneken  Hendricks  from  Bergen.  He  had  a  grandson  by  the  name  of 
Jacob,  born  in  1692.  In  1718  Jacob  purchased  a  farm  on  Staten  Island 
and  moved  thither  from  Flatbush,  Long  Island.  From  him  descended 
the  famous  "Commodore".  It  is  uncertain  whether  this  Jacob  was  de- 
scended from  Anneken  Hendricks  or  from  Jan  Arentszen  van  der  Bilt's 
second  wife.1  The  Commodore  became  an  extensive  shipowner  and  later 
took  a  lively  interest  in  railroads. 

"When  my  father  and  mother  came  to  Staten  Island  in  1888,  we 
joined  the  Dutch  Reformed  Church  in  Port  Richmond,"  says  Mr.  Froh- 

1Evjen,  Scandinavian  Immigrants. 


Staten  Island,  Harlem  and  the  Bronx 


lin.  "My  Sunday  School  teacher  was  an  old  man,  Judge  Bernard  Mullen, 
who  had  been  water  boy  in  the  War  of  1812.  His  troops  were  camped 
around  the  church  mentioned,  and  he  often  told  the  Sunday  School  class 
about  the  war  days  and  that  he  had  talked  to  some  enlisted  Norwegians." 

In  1843  Henry  David  Thoreau,  who  then  lived  on  Staten  Island, 
wrote,  "I  have  crossed  the  Bay  twenty  or  thirty  times  and  have  seen  a 
great  many  immigrants  going  up  to  the  City  for  the  first  time.  Norwe- 
gians, who  carry  their  old-fashioned  farming  tools  to  the  West  with  them, 
will  buy  nothing  here  for  fear  of  being  cheated."2 

Several  thousand  Norwegians  have  settled  on  Staten  Island  in 
healthy  and  attractive  surroundings.  Most  of  them  live  on  the  northern 
part  of  the  Island,  particularly  in  Port  Richmond  and  neighborhood,  but 
many  are  also  to  be  found  at  Eltingville  and  in  nearby  villages.  Accord- 
ing to  the  Census  of  1930  there  were  3,502  persons  born  in  Norway  and 
3,188  whose  parents  were  born  in  Norway,  total  6,690. 

One  of  the  first  Norwegians  to  settle  on  Staten  Island  in  modern 
times  was  most  likely  an  old  man  from  Western  Norway  by  name 
George  Einarsen.  He  lived  in  a  hut  on  the  shore  of  Kill  van  Kull  in 
1850,  and  he  supported  his  family  as  a  fisherman  and  clam  digger.  Later, 
he  went  to  New  Bedford,  Mass.,  where  he  died.  However,  his  son  came 
back  in  the  early  Sixties  and  supported  himself  in  the  same  manner  as 
his  father,  and  in  the  same  neighborhood  where  he  was  born.  He 
changed  his  name  to  Emerson,  because  people  could  not  pronounce  Einar- 
sen correctly.  He  left  a  son,  named  after  his  grandfather,  who  lived  in  a 
small  bungalow  not  far  from  South  Beach.  He  could  not  speak  Norwe- 
gian, but  he  was  proud  of  his  ancestry.3 

Another  early  Norwegian  on  Staten  Island  was  Otto  Jahn,  a  son  of 
Ship  Chandler  Jahn  in  Baltimore.  He  arrived  in  1882.  Jahn  was  em- 
ployed by  the  Shipbrokers,  C.  Tobias  &  Company  in  New  York.  All  ships 
had  to  stop  at  the  quarantine  station  on  Staten  Island,  so  that  it  was 
convenient  to  live  in  the  neighborhood.4  Otto  Jahn  later  became  a  part- 
ner with  his  father,  Nicolay  Jahn,  in  Baltimore.  They  were  from  Bergen. 

Most  of  the  old  Norwegian  settlers  on  Staten  Island  emigrated  origin- 
ally from  Norway  to  Brooklyn,  but  moved  over  to  Staten  Island  chiefly 

^Staten  Island  and  Its  People. 

■''Franklin  Petersen  in  7^ordis\  Tidende,  June  30,  1927. 
*Hordis\  Tidende,  March  26,  1920. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

for  two  reasons:  Work  was  to  be  had  at  the  shipyards  over  there,  and  it 
was  comparatively  easy  to  become  owner  of  a  nice  home.  Alfred  Frohlin, 
a  Swede,  who  had  lived  in  Grimstad  for  eleven  years  and  had  married 
there,  came  to  Staten  Island  in  1888.  He  is  regarded  as  a  pioneer  in  Port 
Richmond.  He  worked  as  foreman  and  when  he  was  short  of  help  he 
would  go  over  to  Brooklyn  and  prevail  on  people  to  move  to  Staten 
Island.  Thus  he  may  be  said  to  have  founded  the  Norwegian  Colony 
there.  One  of  his  sons,  John  Frohlin,  is  part  owner  and  manager  of  the 
Bergen  Point  Iron  Works  in  Bayonne,  New  Jersey.  He  has  been  active 
in  various  Norwegian  undertakings.  Another  son  is  on  the  police  force 
and  has  served  as  Acting  Captain  in  New  Dorp. 

Of  other  old  settlers  may  be  mentioned  Martin  Gundersen,  Andrew 
Andersen,  Christian  Pedersen,  Odd  Pedersen,  A.  Gundersen,  Hans  Her- 
mansen,  Alfred  Olsen  (from  Bergen),  and  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Abraham  Jan- 
sen,  from  Fevik,  near  Arendal,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Eilert  Pedersen  from  Aren- 
dal,  T0nnes  Larsen,  Alfred  Johnson,  Peter  Larsen,  John  A.  B.  Larsen 
and  T.  Lee. 

The  first  Scandinavian  church  on  Staten  Island  was  the  Zion  Nor- 
wegian Church  in  Port  Richmond,  which  started  as  a  mission  organized 
by  Rev.  H.  M.  Hegge  from  Brooklyn  in  1889.  The  first  pastor  was  Rev. 
E.  Rue,  and  the  Councilors  were  Odd  Pedersen,  Alfred  Frohlin,  Christian 
Larsen  and  Gustav  Carlsen.  The  incorporated  congregation  was  organ- 
ized in  1894,  and  the  meeting  place  was  for  many  years  in  Avenue  B,  but 
in  1921  a  fine  church  building  was  dedicated  in  Bennett  Street.  Rev. 
Ingebrigt  Tollefsen,  Rev.  H.  Silseth,  Rev.  O.  F.  Eide,  Rev.  E.  V.  Boe, 
Rev.  R.  O.  Sigmond,  Rev.  Karl  Str0mme  and  Rev.  Lars  P.  Qualben  have 
served  the  Congregation.  Among  the  active  members  have  been  Martin 
Gundersen,  Lawrence  Wagle,  Christian  Pedersen,  T.  Antons,  Tengel 
Hjembo,  Emanuel  Olsen,  Lars  Nilsen,  John  Anderson,  P.  M.  Pedersen, 
Marius  Nybro,  Andr.  Andersen,  Osmund  Berntsen,  Carl  Christiansen, 
Gustav  Gundersen,  Einar  Sonnergren,  Terje  Simonsen,  Theodore  Alli- 
sen,  John  Knutsen  and  Torkild  Skele. 

Rev.  C.  S.  Everson  began  preaching  for  a  small  group  of  church- 
minded  Scandinavians  in  Port  Richmond  in  1892.  Out  of  these  meetings 
grew  Our  Savior's  Church.  Rev.  O.  S.  Rygg  was  called  in  1893  and 
served  to  1899,  when  Rev.  I.  L.  P.  Dietrichsen  became  Pastor.  He  served 
to  1913.  The  first  church  building  was  erected  in  Nicholas  Avenue  in  1899. 
Members  of  the  first  Board  of  Trustees  elected  in  1893  were  Alfred  Olsen, 

Staten  Island,  Harlem  and  the  Bronx 


Peder  Andersen,  Theodore  Johannesen  and  Hans  Olsen.  Rev.  S.  R. 
Christensen  served  the  Congregation  from  191 3  to  1920,  when  Rev.  R.  O. 
Sigmond  was  called.  In  1928  the  Congregation  decided  to  move  the 
Church  to  a  more  central  location  and  the  present  Church  was  built  in 
1930  at  Forest  and  Bard  Avenues. 

In  Eltingville,  Rev.  Andreas  Bersagel  is  pastor  of  the  Lutheran 
Church,  which  was  established  in  1915.  There  are  Norwegian  Free 
Churches  in  West  New  Brighton,  Eltingville,  and  Tottenville. 

The  well  known  Camp  Norge,  summer  camp  for  Norwegian  chil- 
dren, was  originally  situated  at  Eltingville,  but  in  1925  was  moved  to  a 
larger  place  in  Rockland  County,  New  York. 

The  "Dovre  Mountain"  is  the  oldest  Norwegian  Sick  Benefit  Society 
on  Staten  Island.  This  society  was  organized  in  1894.  Some  of  the  first 
Norwegian  settlers  on  Staten  Island  felt  the  need  of  such  an  organization, 
which  to  start  with  had  twelve  charter  members.  David  Thompson  was 
the  first  president.  Dovre  was  the  name  of  the  Society  until  1902,  when 
it  was  changed  to  Dovre  Mountain.  The  society  is  incorporated. 

There  are  two  Lodges  of  Sons  of  Norway  on  Staten  Island:  the  Nan- 
sen  Lodge  in  West  New  Brighton  and  Fredheim  in  Eltingville.  The 
Norsemen  Glee  Club  of  Staten  Island,  with  Ole  Windingstad  as  con- 
ductor for  many  years,  has  always  been  popular  with  the  public. 

Of  well  known  people  on  Staten  Island  may  be  mentioned  John 
Andersen,  engineer  and  contractor,  from  Ris0r;  Peter  Larsen  and  O.  O. 
Odegaard,  house  builders  on  a  large  scale;  Anders  Emile,  organist  and 
music  instructor;  Harald  Reed,  watchmaker;  John  H.  Olsen,  Superin- 
tendent of  the  Victory  Memorial  Hospital;  Arne  Foss,  insurance  broker. 

In  normal  times,  perhaps  80  per  cent  of  the  Norwegians  on  Staten 
Island  are  engaged  in  the  building  industry  and  at  the  shipyards. 

An  institution  on  Staten  Island  which  should  be  mentioned,  al- 
though it  is  not  Norwegian  in  ownership  or  management,  is  the  Sailors' 
Snug  Harbor.  Here  many  Norwegian  sailors  have  found  a  good  and 
safe  retreat  in  their  old  age.  This  famous  institution  was  established  more 
than  a  hundred  years  ago  by  Captain  Robert  Richard  Randall,  who 
willed  a  great  deal  of  real  estate  in  New  York  City  to  its  support. 
The  real  estate  increased  enormously  in  value,  so  that  the  institution  be- 
came wealthy.  An  American  who  has  reached  the  age  of  65  years,  who 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

has  been  a  sailor  for  five  years,  and  who  is  of  good  character,  is  entitled 
to  admittance.  A  foreign-born  sailor  must  have  become  an  American 
citizen  and  sailed  under  the  American  flag  for  ten  years,  before  he  can 
be  admitted.  The  inmites  receive  everything  free,  even  to  pocket 
money  for  tobacco  and  other  small  personal  expenses."  Captain  Morten 
Jensen  and  Captain  Peter  Mathisen,  from  R0d,  near  Arendal,  are  living 
at  the  institution. 

Some  youths  go  to  sea  and  cease  entirely  to  maintain  contact  with 
their  relatives  in  Norway.  The  worst  case  of  this  kind  on  record  is  the 
following:  In  April,  1929,  a  reporter  for  Nordisl^  Tidende  found  an  82- 
year-old  Norwegian  sailor  at  Sailors'  Snug  Harbor  on  Staten  Island.  He 
had  throughout  most  of  his  life  used  the  name  James  Wilson,  but  his 
real  name  was  Just  Ebbesen,  and  he  was  born  at  Nedstrand  near  Stavan- 
ger,  where  his  father  was  a  minister.  When  he  was  six  years  old,  the 
family  moved  to  Oslo,  where  his  mother  died,  and  his  father  then  sent 
him  to  an  aunt  in  Larvik.  Twenty  years  old,  in  1879,  Ebbesen  went  to 
sea  and  for  sixty  years  his  sister  and  others  in  the  family  did  not  receive 
a  single  word  from  him  and  believed  him  dead.  The  accidental  meeting 
with  the  reporter  re-established  Ebbesen's  contact  with  Norway.  He  had 
at  one  time  tried  to  get  a  navigator's  license,  but  discovered  that  he  was 
color  blind. 


Harlem  is  that  part  of  Manhattan  which  lies  immediately  south  of 
Harlem  River  and  on  the  East  Side.  In  the  Nineties  and  even  later,  most 
of  the  Norwegians  in  the  northern  part  of  New  York  City  used  to  live  in 
Harlem,  between  120th  and  124th  Streets,  but  then  they  commenced  to 
move  across  the  river  to  what  is  called  the  Borough  of  Bronx.  Now  there 
are  not  so  very  many  Norwegians  left  in  Harlem,  although  the  old  Nor- 
wegian Lutheran  Congregation  there  is  still  active.  But  over  on  the 
West  Side,  on  Washington  Heights,  there  is  quite  a  group  of  Norwe- 
gians living,  and  able  to  maintain  two  Free  Churches.  About  twenty 
years  ago,  an  athletic  club  and  a  singing  society  flourished,  but  both 
died  years  ago.  According  to  the  Census  of  1930  there  were  in  Manhat- 

cInformation  from  office  of  institution. 

Staten  Island,  Harlem  and  the  Bronx 


tan  3,937  persons  born  in  Norway,  and  1,582  born  here  of  parents  born 
in  Norway,  total  5,519.  In  the  Bronx  respectively,  1,590  and  1,419,  total 

The  Borough  of  Bronx  is  named  after  Jonas  Bronck,  who  came  to 
New  York  in  1639,  during  the  Dutch  period,  and  died  there  in  1643. 
Bronck  has  often  been  regarded  as  a  Norwegian,  as  he  was  born  on  the 
Faroe  Islands,  which  at  the  time  belonged  to  Norway. 

Sons  of  Norway  has  a  Lodge,  "Fram,"  on  86th  Street,  Manhattan; 
"Klippen"  is  in  the  Bronx;  "Freidig,"  Daughters  of  Norway,  is  in  Har- 
lem and  "Ly,"  American  Daughters  of  Norway,  meets  on  58th  Street, 
New  York.  Most  of  the  Norwegians  in  this  section  are  engaged  in  the 
building  trades. 

Our  Savior's  Church  in  Harlem,  of  which  John  A.  Gade  was  the 
architect  and  Rev.  J.  C.  Gram  the  pastor,  was  dedicated  in  March,  1912. 
A  large  part  of  the  money  that  went  into  the  building  of  the  church  was 
donated  by  an  American  woman,  with  Mr.  Gade  acting  as  the  interme- 
diary. The  Congregation  was  organized  in  1896,  and  on  March  31,  1940, 
celebrated  its  44th  anniversary.  Rev.  Johannes  HjSifjeld  is  the  present 

Elling  Ellingsen,  who  came  to  New  York  from  Sandefjord,  Norway, 
in  1902,  died  in  1940  in  his  home  in  the  Bronx.  He  was  a  well  known 
man  in  the  electrical  trade,  and  he  had  positions  as  general  foreman  at 
the  erection  of  large  power  stations. 

The  Immanuel  Congregation  in  the  Bronx  was  founded  by  John  Olsen, 
Isak  Olsen,  Soren  Telehaug  and  others.  The  church  was  built  in  1930. 
John  Olsen  was  born  at  Thorsland  in  Aaseral,  and  came  to  New  York 
in  1891.  The  present  minister  of  the  church  is  the  Rev.  Erik  L.  Jensen. 
J.  O.  Pedersen,  the  builder,  is  also  a  prominent  man  in  the  Bronx. 





"  I  T  Is  Difficult  To  Estimate  the  value  of  the  contributions  to  America 
I  of  a  whole  group  of  people  like  the  Norwegians,"  writes  Magnus 
Bj0rndal  in  Nordis^  Tidende's  World's  Fair  number,  1939.  But  the  mat- 
ter becomes  much  easier,  in  his  opinion,  if  only  one  branch  is  considered. 
This  is  particularly  true  of  the  Norwegian  engineers.  They  have, 
without  doubt,  left  larger  and  more  lasting  marks  in  America  than  many 
another  group  of  workers.  The  Norwegian-American  Historical  Asso- 
ciation is  making  preparations  to  publish  a  book  on  Norwegian  engineers 
and  architects  in  America  by  Dr.  Kenneth  Bjork.  It  is  therefore  not  nec- 
essary to  go  into  the  subject  very  extensively  here.  Some  of  the  engineers 
must,  however,  be  mentioned,  inasmuch  as  they  have  taken  part  in  the 
general  development  of  the  Norwegian  Colony. 

An  engineer  and  scientist  of  fame  and  unusual  ability  is  Elias  A. 
Cappelen-Smith  of  New  York,  who  was  born  in  Trondheim,  Norway, 
in  1873.  After  graduation  from  the  Institute  of  Technology  in  his  native 
city,  he  came  to  America  and  was  employed  as  a  chemist  by  Armour  and 
Company,  and  later  by  the  Chicago  Copper  Refining  Company.  In  1906 
he  became  superintendent  of  the  electrolytical  department  of  the  Ana- 
conda Copper  Refining  Company  of  Anaconda,  Montana,  and  the  fol- 
lowing year  he  became  metallurgical  engineer  of  the  Baltimore  Copper 
Smelting  and  Refining  Company  in  Baltimore,  Maryland.  Since  1910  he 
has  been  with  the  American  Smelting  and  Refining  Company  and  Gug- 
genheim Brothers,  New  York,  as  vice-president  and  one  of  their  lead- 
ing executives.  He  has  made  many  important  inventions  in  the  copper 
industry,  of  which,  according  to  Harry  F.  Guggenheim  and  others,  there 
are  two  which  have  made  his  name  known  wherever  there  is  mining  of 
copper.  The  first  is  a  process  of  separating  copper  from  ore — the  basic 
converting  of  copper — which  has  revolutionized  the  copper  industry  and 
has  reduced  the  cost  of  mining  copper  by  almost  one-half.  It  was  the 
Chuquicamata  process,  however,  that  made  Cappelen-Smith  famous  as 



Norwegians  in  New  York 

a  metallurgist.  In  Chuquicamata,  near  Antofagasta,  Chili,  the  Guggen- 
heim Corporation  owns  large  tracts  containing  extensive  copper  deposits. 
Harry  F.  Guggenheim  has  stated  that  these  deposits  would  give  employ- 
ment to  four  thousand  men  for  125  years,  but  there  was  no  process  by 
which  this  ore  holding  a  low  percentage  of  copper  could  be  reduced  eco- 
nomically. The  problem  was  solved  by  Cappelen-Smith,  who  invented  a 
new  process  in  which  acids  are  employed  instead  of  the  old  process  of 
smelting.  By  this  new  method  ten  thousand  tons  of  ore  can  be  converted 
daily  at  a  very  low  cost.  A  few  years  ago,  Cappelen-Smith  invented  a  new 
process  for  extracting  saltpeter  from  the  soil,  greatly  reducing  the  expense 
of  producing  this  commodity.  Harry  F.  Guggenheim  has  said  of  him 
that  he  possesses  three  traits  rarely  combined  in  one  person:  scien- 
tific knowledge,  great  creative  ability,  and  business  vision.  He  has  been 
decorated  by  the  King  of  Norway  as  Commander  of  the  Order  of  St. 
Olav.1  And  in  1920  he  received  the  gold  medal  of  the  Mining  and  Met- 
allurgical Society  of  America  for  distinguished  work.  Cappelen-Smith 
has  shown  great  interest  in  the  affairs  of  the  Norwegian  community  both 
through  personal  work  and  through  liberal  donations. 

Olaf  Hoff  was  born  in  Smaalenene,  Norway,  and  came  to  America 
in  1880  after  having  graduated  from  the  Polytechnic  Institute,  Oslo.  He 
built  a  bridge  over  the  Mississippi,  at  Minneapolis,  and  he  has  construct- 
ed several  bridges  for  the  New  York  Central  Railroad.  The  building  of 
tunnels  became,  however,  his  greatest  work.  He  built  the  Pennsylvania 
Railway  tunnel  under  the  Hudson  River,  between  Jersey  City  and  Man- 
hattan, and  he  was  consultant  in  the  construction  of  the  Lexington 
Subway  tunnel  under  the  Harlem  River,  New  York  City.  His  work  was 
so  successful  that  his  plans  were  used  in  the  construction  of  a  tunnel 
under  the  Detroit  River.  In  1905  he  became  a  member  of  the  engineering 
firm,  Butler  Brothers  and  Hoff  Company,  New  York.  He  died  in  1923, 
at  the  age  of  sixty-five. 

Carl  G.  Barth,  a  mechanical  engineer  and  inventor,  had  been  con- 
sultant on  scientific  management  problems  to  some  fifty  industrial  con- 
cerns and  had  lectured  on  management  subjects  at  Harvard  University 
and  the  University  of  Chicago.  He  was  born  in  Oslo,  Norway,  and  he 
was  graduated  from  the  Technical  School  at  Horten,  in  1876,  and  came 

1Gjerset:  Norwegian  Sailors  in  American  Waters,  p.  226. 

Engineers  and  Scientists 


to  Philadelphia  five  years  later.  He  died  in  October,  1939,  in  Philadel- 
phia, at  the  age  of  73. 

Tinius  Olsen  is  known  all  over  the  world  where  testing  machines  for 
materials  are  in  use.  He  was  born  in  Kongsberg  in  1845,  and  studied 
engineering  in  Horten.  He  came  to  Philadelphia  in  1869  and  established 
his  own  factory  in  1880.  Olsen  was  made  a  Commander  of  St.  Olav  in 
recognition  of  large  donations  to  his  birthplace,  where  a  monument  has 
been  erected  in  his  honor.  His  son,  Thorsten  Y.  Olsen,  was  made  a 
Knight  of  St.  Olav  in  1937. 

Bernt  Berger  was  born  in  Drammen  and  received  his  engineering 
education  at  the  Institute  of  Technology  in  Trondheim.  He  came  to 
New  York  in  1886.  Berger  worked  on  many  large  bridge  projects  and 
had  as  his  hobby  the  Norwegian  Hospital,  where  he  served  as  treasurer 
for  many  years.  He  died  in  191 9,  53  years  old. 

Hans  Christian  Hansen  was  born  in  Hedrum,  and  received  his  di- 
ploma from  the  technical  school  in  Horten  in  1865.  He  came  in  1868  to 
Boston,  where  he  later  established  a  large  machine  shop  and  type  foundry. 

Edwin  Ruud  came  to  Pittsburg  in  1879,  and  he  was  noted  for  his 
hot  water  heaters  in  use  practically  all  over  the  civilized  world.  He  was 
born  in  Askim  and  emigrated  to  America  in  1880. 

Frederic  Schaefer  was  born  in  Stavanger  and  is  the  president  of  the 
Schaefer  Equipment  Company,  Pittsburg,  Pa.,  which  manufactures  rail- 
way equipment.  Schaefer  is  a  member  of  the  board  of  trustees  of  the 
American-Scandinavian  Foundation,  New  York,  a  member  of  the  execu- 
tive committee  of  the  Norwegian-American  Historical  Association,  and 
is  a  very  public-spirited  man.  In  1940  he  served  as  a  member  of  Nor- 
wegian Relief,  Inc.,  which  was  collecting  money  for  the  alleviation  of 
need  caused  by  the  war  in  Norway. 

Ole  Singstad  is  one  of  the  most  prominent  Norwegian  engineers  in 
the  country.  He  was  born  at  Lenneviken,  near  Trondheim,  Norway,  in 
1882.  During  his  first  years  in  New  York  he  was  mostly  engaged  in 
bridge  construction,  but  he  became  famous  when  he  finished  the  Holland 
Tunnel  under  the  Hudson  River,  from  New  York  to  New  Jersey,  after 
his  two  predecessors  in  office  had  died.  The  tunnel  has  a  total  length 
of  two  miles,  with  a  daily  capacity  of  46,000  vehicles,  and  cost  fifty 
million  dollars.  Singstad  has  also  constructed  a  tunnel  under  the  East 
River,  from  New  York  to  Brooklyn,  and  he  has  been  consulting  engineer 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

on  many  similar  undertakings,  both  in  this  country  and  abroad.  In  1939 
he  was  made  Doctor  of  Engineering  at  Stevens  Institute  of  Technology, 
in  Jersey  City.  He  is  a  Knight  of  the  Belgian  Order  of  the  Crown  for 
his  work  as  consulting  engineer  for  the  tunnel  under  the  river  Schelde, 
and  he  is  also  a  Knight  of  St.  Olav.  At  present,  Singstad  is  consulting 
engineer  for  the  tunnel  from  the  Battery,  New  York,  to  Hamilton 
Avenue,  Brooklyn. 

A  Norwegian  engineer,  Henrik  von  Zernikow-Loss  died  in  1938,  in 
Philadelphia,  77  years  old.  He  was  from  Kristiansand  and  had  for  about 
half  a  century  lived  in  the  Quaker  City.  He  was  a  prominent  engineer 
and  received  the  Franklin  Institute  Gold  Medal  for  making  the  first  rolled 
steel  railway  car  wheels  in  America.  When  Zernikow-Loss  was  a  child, 
his  father  failed  in  business,  and  many  people  in  Kristiansand  lost  money 
on  him. 

When  the  will  of  this  great  engineer  was  opened,  it  was  found  that 
Zernikow-Loss  had  left  $150,000  to  cover  the  unpaid  debts  of  his  father. 
If  the  creditors  could  not  be  found  after  the  passage  of  nearly  70  years, 
the  money  should  be  used  either  for  the  beautification  of  the  city  of 
Kristiansand,  or  for  a  museum  of  art,  or  for  the  promotion  of  musical 
activities.  Zernikow-Loss  also  left  several  bequests  to  institutions  in  this 

Peder  Lobben,  a  Norwegian  engineer  and  mechanic,  who  for  many 
years  lived  in  Holyoke,  Massachusetts,  went  back  to  Norway,  where  he 
published  a  Handbook  for  Mechanics,  which  attracted  great  attention 
and  had  a  large  sale  in  this  country. 

Conrad  M.  Conradson,  consulting  engineer  for  Vickers,  Inc.,  and  in- 
ventor, was  born  in  Stoughton,  Wis.,  and  was  graduated  from  the  Uni- 
versity of  Wisconsin.  While  a  machine  tool  designer  at  Madison,  Wis., 
in  1890,  he  invented  the  Gisholt  lathe,  which  won  recognition  for  him 
at  the  Chicago  and  Paris  Expositions.  He  designed  the  northern  electric 
motor,  which  was  sold  to  General  Electric.  At  one  time  he  was  chief 
engineer  for  the  New  York  Shipbuilding  Corporation.  In  1917  he  or- 
ganized the  Ryerson-Conradson  Company  of  Green  Bay,  Wis.,  for  the 
manufacture  of  heavy  machinery.  He  died  in  Detroit  in  May,  1940. 

Aksel  Pauli  Andersen,  a  well  known  bridge  engineer  in  New  York, 
was  in  1937  appointed  professor  at  the  Institute  of  Technology  in  Trond- 
heim.  Andersen  was  born  at  Tynset  in  1892  and  came  to  America  as  a 

Engineers  and  Scientists 


Fellow  of  the  American-Scandinavian  Foundation  and  the  University  of 
Wisconsin.  He  was  one  of  the  prominent  engineers  at  the  erection  of  the 
George  Washington  Bridge  across  the  Hudson  River.  He  was  a  very 
active  member  of  the  Norsemen  Ski  Club. 

Einar  Eriksen  was  born  in  Mandal  in  1879  and  came  to  America 
in  1901.  He  studied  engineering  in  Oslo,  Dresden,  and  at  Columbia 
University,  New  York,  and  is  at  present  engaged  by  the  Public  Service 
Commission  of  New  York. 

Among  other  well-known  engineers  may  be  mentioned  Viggo  Drew- 
sen,  authority  on  paper  manufacture,  deceased;  D.  S.  Jensen,  paper  mill 
engineer;  Ole  Berger,  paper  mill  engineer;  Major  H.  Rude  Jacobsen,  tun- 
nel and  subway  expert;  Carl  Wigtel,  hydraulic  machinery,  deceased;  Nils 
F.  Ambursen,  hydraulic  engineer,  inventor  of  the  Ambursen  Dam;  Sverre 
Damm,  Guttorm  Miller,  subways;  Berge  B.  Furre,  now  living  in  Nor- 
way, subways;  Anders  Bull,  structural  engineer,  Eugene  Schou,  struc- 
tural engineer,  Board  of  Education,  deceased;  Christian  Nielsen,  marine 
engineer;  S0ren  A.  Thoresen,  tunnel  engineer;  H.  P.  G.  Nordstrand, 
president,  Saranac  Pulp  &  Paper  Co.,  Plattsburg,  N.  Y.;  Halfdan  Lie, 
president  Boston  Gas  Co.;  Leif  Lie,  consulting  engineer,  Youngstown, 
Ohio,  deceased;  S.  Munch  Kielland,  Buffalo,  N.  Y.,  railroad  engineer; 
Olaf  Berg,  silk  dyeing,  Paterson,  N. }.;  Gunvald  Aus  and  Kort  Berle, 
structural  steel,  for  Wool  worth  Building;  Haakon  Styri,  Philadelphia; 
Fr.  Zwilgmeyer,  Wilmington,  Del.;  Johan  Borge,  incinerators;  Otto  J. 
Andreasen;  Einar  Conradi,  subways;  John  S.  Branne;  Joachim  G.  Giaver, 
structural  steel,  Equitable  and  Flat  Iron  Buildings;  Mauritz  C.  Indahl, 
printing  machinery,  deceased;  Harald  F.  Gade,  Standard  Press  Steel 
Company;  Alfred  Vaksdal,  Corning  Glass  Works,  Corning,  N.  Y.;  Olaf 
Bache-Wiig,  who  has  built  many  paper  plants  in  the  United  States  and 
Canada;  Axel  Andersen,  chemical  engineer. 

The  Norwegian  Engineers'  Society  was  formed  in  1925  and  is  a 
live  and  energetic  organization  with  a  substantial  list  of  members,  par- 
ticularly from  the  younger  element. 

Carl  Lumholtz,  the  explorer,  was  born  in  Faaberg,  Norway,  in 
1 85 1,  and  originally  intended  to  become  a  clergyman.  In  1880  he  broke 
off  his  theological  studies  and  went  to  Australia,  where  in  particular  he 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

explored  Queensland.  After  this  trip  he  published  his  book,  Among 
Cannibals.  Supported  by  the  Geographic  Society  in  New  York  in  1890, 
and  also  by  the  Museum  of  Natural  History,  Lumholtz  made  several  ex- 
peditions to  Mexico.  His  book,  Among  the  Indians  in  Mexico,  tells  of 
his  experiences  in  that  country.  Later  he  explored  parts  of  East  India  and 
Borneo  {Among  the  Head-Hunters  of  Borneo),  and  he  was  ready  to 
undertake  an  expedition  to  New  Guinea,  when  he  died  in  New  York 
in  1922. 

Professor  John  C.  Olsen,  whose  parents,  Michael  and  Cecilie,  were 
immigrants  from  Norway,  was  born  in  Galesburg,  111.,  in  1869.  He 
graduated  from  Knox  College  in  that  city  and  he  also  studied  at  other 
institutions  of  learning.  In  1900  he  was  awarded  the  degree  of  Ph.D.  at 
Johns  Hopkins  University  in  Baltimore,  and  the  same  year  he  came  to 
the  Polytechnic  Institute,  Brooklyn,  as  professor  of  chemistry.  Olsen  re- 
mained there  with  the  exception  of  four  years,  which  he  spent  at  Cooper 
Union,  New  York.  He  has  published  many  books. 

An  interesting  scientist  in  the  world  of  plants  is  Dr.  Alfred  Gunder- 
sen,  Curator  of  Brooklyn  Botanic  Garden.  He  was  born  in  Krager0, 
Norway,  in  1877,  and  after  the  death  of  his  parents,  he  came,  at  the  age 
of  fifteen,  to  a  brother  on  the  Pacific  Coast.  Dr.  Gundersen  studied  at 
Stanford  University,  Palo  Alto,  Cal.,  also  at  the  University  of  Minnesota 
and  at  Harvard.  In  the  interest  of  science,  he  has  traveled  considerably 
in  Europe,  and  he  has  also  been  at  the  Galapagos  Islands.  At  the  Brooklyn 
Botanic  Garden,  Gundersen  has  an  Herbarium  containing  30,000  plants, 
gathered  together  from  all  over  the  globe.  Among  these,  some  Norwegian 
plants  can  be  found:  "Soldug",  "Valmue",  "Efey",  and  "Pirolaceae". 
Dr.  Gundersen  has  been  at  the  Brooklyn  Botanic  Garden  for  27  years, 
and  he  distributes  an  enormous  amount  of  flower  seed  every  year  through 
the  school  children  of  the  City.2 

Hugo  Ullitz  died  at  Hvalstad,  near  Oslo,  in  1940,  at  the  age  of  91. 
About  1880  he  became  manager  of  the  first  telephone  company  in  Kris- 
tiania,  which  was  the  first  city  in  Europe  to  have  a  central  station.  Later 
Ullitz  and  his  wife  lived  in  New  York  for  47  years. 

Ignatius  Bjorlee,  who  is  superintendent  of  the  Maryland  School  for 
the  Deaf  at  Frederick,  Md.,  was  in  1941  elected  president  of  the  Confer- 
ence of  Executives  of  American  Schools  for  the  Deaf.   He  graduated 

2Carl  S0yland,  in  Hordis\  Tidende,  1930. 

Engineers  and  Scientists 


from  St.  Olaf  College  in  1909  and  was  in  1935  awarded  the  degree  of 
LL.D.  from  this  institution.3 

Dr.  Alfred  Owre  was  a  Norwegian-born  leader  in  American  dental 
education.  He  was  dean  of  the  College  of  Dentistry  of  the  University  of 
Minnesota  from  1905  to  1927  and  later  headed  the  Dentistry  College  of 
Columbia  University,  New  York,  from  1927  until  his  death  in  1934. 

Nils  A.  Olsen,  vice-president  of  the  Equitable  Life  Assurance  Society 
and  chief  of  the  Bureau  of  Agricultural  Economics  from  1928,  died  in 
Bronxville,  N.  Y.,  in  July,  1940.  Olsen  was  born  at  Herscher,  111.,  in 
1887,  and  educated  at  Luther  College,  Decorah,  Iowa,  Johns  Hopkins, 
and  the  University  of  Wisconsin.4 

Oscar  J.  Falnes  has  been  instructor  in  history  at  New  York  Univer- 
sity since  1927.  He  was  born  at  Wood  Lake,  Minn.,  in  1898.  His  father 
came  from  Skudesneshavn,  Karm0y.  In  the  Summer  of  1941,  Professor 
Falnes  introduced  a  course  on  the  Scandinavian  Peoples  in  European 
History  at  Washington  Square  College,  New  York. 

Olaf  Andersen,  professor  for  many  years  in  geology  at  Stevens  Insti- 
tute of  Technology,  Hoboken,  New  Jersey,  died  in  July,  1941,  in  Mil- 
lington,  New  Jersey.  He  was  born  in  H0nefoss  in  1884  and  came  to 
America  in  191 1.  Professor  Andersen  was  also  consulting  petrologist  in 
the  U.  S.  Steel  Corporation's  Research  Laboratory  at  Kearney,  N.  J. 

Conrad  Engerud  Tharaldsen  is  professor  of  anatomy  in  New  York 
Medical  College,  City  of  New  York.  Harry  R.  Tosdal  is  professor  of 
marketing  at  the  Graduate  School  of  Business,  Harvard  University,  Cam- 
bridge, Mass.,  and  editor  of  Harvard  Business  Review.  In  1940  he  was 
created  Doctor  of  Law  at  St.  Olaf  College.  In  the  field  of  mathematics, 
a  prominent  place  is  held  by  Oystein  Ore  at  Yale.  L.  O.  Gr0ndahl  has 
for  a  number  of  years  been  engaged  by  the  Union  Switch  and  Signal 
Company,  Pittsburg,  where  he  is  director  of  research  and  engineering. 
He  has  made  many  inventions  in  his  field  and  has  the  title  of  Doctor  of 
Science  from  St.  Olaf  College.  Halsten  Joseph  Thorkelsen,  born  1875, 
was  for  many  years  professor  of  steam  engineering  at  the  University  of 
Wisconsin.  In  1921  he  became  secretary  of  the  General  Education  Board 
(Rockefeller),  New  York.  He  is  author  of  Air  Compression  and  Trans- 

3St.  Olaf  College  Bulletin,  April,  1941. 
*Hew  Tor\  Herald  Tribune,  July  30,  1940. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

In  1916  Alfred  A.  Johnson,  born  in  McFarland,  Dane  County,  Wis., 
was  appointed  superintendent  of  the  New  York  State  School  of  Agricul- 
ture to  be  established  at  Farmingdale,  Long  Island.  Johnson,  who  was 
an  expert  and  had  been  superintendent  of  several  similar  institutions  be- 
fore, such  as  the  one  at  Oconomowoc,  Wis.,  was  given  300  acres  of  brush 
land  and  an  appropriation  and  told  to  go  ahead  and  create  the  institution 
desired.  He  was  successful  in  so  doing,  but  he  got  tired  of  the  eternal 
battle  with  politicians  and  he  withdrew  after  a  few  years. 

Thorstein  B.  Veblen,  an  uncle  of  Oswald  Veblen,  the  noted  mathe- 
matician at  Princeton  University,  was  born  in  Wisconsin  in  1857.  His 
people  had  emigrated  from  Valdres,  Norway,  ten  years  earlier.  Veblen 
received  his  doctor's  degree  in  philosophy  at  Yale  in  1884,  and  he  ac- 
quired a  wide  reputation  for  close  thinking  and  brilliant  writing.  He  was 
an  economist  who  was  also  very  much  at  home  in  sociology.  His  first  im- 
portant work,  The  Theory  of  the  Leisure  Class  (published  in  1899), 
placed  him  at  once  in  the  front  rank  of  American  thinkers.  He  held 
teaching  positions  at  the  Universities  of  Chicago  and  Missouri,  Leland 
Stanford  University,  and  the  New  School  for  Social  Research  in  New 
York  City.  He  died  in  I929-5 

The  parents  of  Conrad  A.  Hansen  came  to  Chicago  from  Drammen, 
Norway,  in  1858.  The  father  served  in  the  Union  Army  during  the  Civil 
War,  but  he  returned  to  Chicago  in  good  health,  and  he  was  for  many 
years  employed  as  a  carpenter  by  the  Chicago  and  Northwestern  Railway. 
Conrad  A.  Hansen  has  had  a  long  and  varied  business  experience.  He 
came  in  191 9  to  the  Mergenthaler  Linotype  Company  in  Brooklyn,  as 
vice-president  in  charge  of  plant  and  production.  The  linotype  was  invent- 
ed by  a  German  immigrant,  Ottmar  Mergenthaler,  who  came  to  New 
York  in  1886,  as  a  watchmaker.  The  linotype  machines  are  now  spread 
all  over  the  world  and  are  used  by  at  least  86  nationalities.6 

The  naval  architect,  Georg  Unger  Vetlesen,  has  come  to  the  front 
in  recent  years.  Together  with  his  wife,  Mr.  Vedesen  has  distinguished 
himself  as  a  generous  supporter  of  worthy  undertakings.  He  is  an  en- 
thusiastic yachtsman  and  a  Knight  of  St.  Olav,  first  class. 

5The  Changing  of  the  West,  by  Laurence  M.  Larson,  "Essay  on  the  Field  of 

Scholarship,"  p.  35. 
6Carl  Soyland,  in  "h[ordis\  Tidende. 



EMIGRATION  Was  Increasing  and  it  was  evident  that  the  small 
Norwegian  sailing  vessels  which  had  carried  such  a  large  part  of  this 
traffic  would  have  to  give  way  to  more  modern  transportation.  In  1869, 
the  emigration  went  beyond  18,000,  the  highest  number  up  to  that  time, 
and  some  forward-looking  business  men  in  Bergen,  who  foresaw  the  com- 
ing development,  organized  the  next  year  a  rather  imposing  undertaking, 
the  Norwegian-American  Steamship  Company,  which  made  its  appear- 
ance in  1871.  The  directorate  consisted  of  the  most  prominent  men  in 
Bergen:  Peter  Jebsen,  consul;  C.  Sundt,  merchant;  j0rgen  Fa  ye,  bank 
president;  Chr.  Kahrs,  merchant;  and  C.  K.  Gran,  merchant. 

Of  this  line  C.  J.  Hambro  writes  in  Ameri^aferd:  "The  first  ship, 
St.  Ola],  2500  tons  d.w.,  left  Bergen  in  July,  1871,  with  413  passengers. 
The  ship  furnished  meals;  there  was  a  bakery  on  board,  also  a  doctor — 
great  improvements  for  the  emigrants.1 

In  1872,  Peder  Jebsen  (1600  tons  d.w.)  and  Harald  Haarjagre  (2600 
tons  d.w.)  were  added;  in  1873,  Haakon  Adelsteen  (2200  tons  d.w.)  and 
Kong  Sverre  (3500  tons  d.w.).  In  1872  the  Line  carried  2134  emigrants 
to  New  York;  in  1873,  2782;  in  1874,  2179;  but  after  the  great  boom 
which  followed  the  American  Civil  War  came  a  sharp  reduction  in  emi- 
gration. There  was  also  very  little  freight,  and  after  six  years  the  line 
had  to  give  up  and  put  its  ships  into  other  traffic.  This  is  so  much  more 
to  be  regretted,  as  the  great  boom  in  emigration  from  Norway  developed 
only  a  few  years  later. 

Of  all  the  "bridges"  that  have  been  built  between  Norway  and  the 
United  States,  the  Norwegian  America  Line  is  one  of  the  most  important. 
It  has  drawn  Norway  and  the  United  States  much  closer  together;  it  has 

1The  Rev.  O.  Juul  says  in  his  Erindringer  that  the  arrival  of  this  ship  created 
considerable  excitement  and  that  he  preached  on  board  at  some  welcoming 
ceremonies  that  had  been  arranged. 



Norwegians  in  New  York 

developed  passenger  traffic  and  interchange  of  goods;  and  it  has  en- 
couraged intercourse  and  cooperation  in  many  ways.  In  one  sense,  it  is 
strange  that  the  Line  did  not  become  a  reality  many  years  before  it 
actually  did. 

The  Norwegian-American  Steamship  Company  was  given  up  in 
1876.  From  this  time  to  1913,  the  Norwegians  going  to  and  from  Ameri- 
ca had  to  travel  under  foreign  flags,  although  Norway  had  become  one 
of  the  great  seafaring  nations  of  the  world. 

But,  although  nothing  was  actually  done  until  after  the  turn  of  the 
century,  the  feeling  that  Norway  ought  to  have  its  own  America  Line 
was  by  no  means  dead.  Off  and  on,  articles  would  appear  in  the  papers 
advocating  that  steps  be  taken  to  start  such  an  undertaking.  After  the 
various  alternatives  had  been  discussed,  occasionally  with  great  bitter- 
ness (there  was  a  plan  for  a  combined  Danish,  Swedish  and  Norwegian 
Line),  the  Norwegian  America  Line  was  organized  and  the  sale  of  stock 
started  in  1909.  Consul  E.  H.  Hobe  in  St.  Paul  was  to  have  charge  of 
the  sale  in  America.  He  was  soon  joined  by  Birger  Osland  in  Chicago, 
who  succeeded  in  selling  $50,000  worth  of  stock  to  H.  P.  Nelson  in 
Chicago,  and  stock  for  the  same  amount  to  Magnus  Swenson  in  Madison, 
Wis.  These  large  sales  gave  the  whole  matter  a  great  impetus.  At  one 
time,  the  sales  in  America  exceeded  those  in  Norway,  and  it  has  been 
claimed  that  it  was  the  money  from  America  that  made  the  Line  possible. 
Over  here,  people  were  inclined  to  look  at  the  undertaking  not  simply 
as  a  business  venture,  but  also  as  a  meritorious  national  cause.  There 
were  at  one  time  in  America  2400  stockholders  (kr.  1,578,000);  in  Nor- 
way 1050  (kr.  1,323,500).  E.  T.  Christensen,  then  president  of  the  Nor- 
wegian News  Company,  attended  to  the  sale  of  stock  in  New  York. 

The  first  board  of  directors  consisted  of  Consul  General  Cath.  Bang; 
J.  L.  Mowinckel,  shipowner;  Consul  H.  F.  Gade,  Consul  F.  L.  Konow, 
Sigvald  Bergesen,  shipowner;  Thor  Thorsen,  shipowner,  and  Director 
With.  The  following  men  were  the  American  members  of  the  board  of 
representatives:  E.  T.  Christensen,  New  York;  Fred  Engen,  Saskatoon; 
J.  L.  Grondahl,  Seattle,  Wash.;  H.  G.  Haugan,  Chicago;  Consul  E.  H. 
Hobe,  St.  Paul;  and  attorney  Andreas  Ueland,  Minneapolis.  Gustav 
Henriksen,  who  had  had  much  experience  in  shipping,  was  elected  gen- 
eral manager  and  served  with  outstanding  ability  until  his  death  in  1939. 
In  the  latter  part  of  191 1  contracts  were  made  with  Cammel,  Laird  and 

Norwegian  America  Line 


Company,  Ltd.,  in  Birkenhead,  England,  for  the  building  of  the  Kristi- 
aniafjord  and  the  Bergensjjord,  and  Captains  S.  C.  Hiorthdal  and  K.  S. 
Irgens  were  appointed  commanders  of  the  two  ships.  Captain  H.  M. 
Doxrud  became  superintendent  of  the  Line. 

The  Kristianiajjord  arrived  in  New  York  on  its  maiden  trip  on  June 
17,  1913,  and  it  has  been  said  that  no  other  event  has  aroused  such  interest 
within  the  Norwegian  colony.  The  Norwegian  National  League,  with 
A.  N.  Rygg  as  chairman  of  the  committee  on  arrangements,  was  in  charge 
of  the  festivities,  which  included  a  dinner  for  nearly  400  persons  in 
Prospect  Hall,  Brooklyn. 

The  Bergensjjord  came  to  New  York  for  the  first  time  in  November, 

The  Norwegian  America  Line  was  started  at  the  right  time  and  did 
excellent  business  from  the  beginning.  When  the  World  War  broke  out 
in  1914,  it  was  fortunate  for  Norway  that  it  had  the  two  large  ships  to 
depend  on  for  the  transportation  of  necessary  supplies.  The  Line  did 
also  gradually  acquire  a  large  number  of  cargo  boats. 

In  1915  it  was  thought  advisable  to  order  a  third  liner  to  be  called 
Stavangerjjord,  from  Cammel,  Laird  and  Company,  and  before  this  ship 
was  ready  and  delivered  the  Kristianiajjord  went  ashore  in  July,  1917, 
on  Newfoundland  and  became  a  total  wreck.  It  was  indeed  fortunate 
that  Stavangerjjord  could  take  its  place  in  1918.  Captain  Irgens  was  its 
master,  while  Ole  B.  Bull  became  captain  of  the  Bergensfjord.  In  1915 
the  cargo  boat  Trondhjemsjjord  was  sunk  by  a  German  U-boat,  because 
it  had  been  bought  from  an  enemy  country  after  the  outbreak  of  the  war. 

In  1938  the  splendid  new  liner  Oslojjord  was  put  into  the  route  to 
New  York.2  The  ship  was  serving  the  British  Government  in  1940,  and 
was  wrecked  on  the  east  coast  of  England. 

It  was  stated  in  1935  that  from  1913  the  Line  had  carried  to  Norway 
more  than  152,000  persons.  Andr.  Johnsen,  who  had  been  with  the  Line 
since  the  start,  succeeded  Gustav  Henriksen  as  general  manager.  Peter 
Berge  is  manager  of  the  Line  on  this  side  of  the  water. 

After  a  trip  to  South  Africa  in  his  youth,  Peter  Berge  came  to  New 
York  in  1904  where  for  a  number  of  years  he  was  employed  in  the  office 
of  the  Norwegian  Mutual  Marine  Insurance  Societies.  When  the  Nor- 
wegian America  Line  was  organized,  Berge  became  auditor  in  the  New 

2Hambro,  America/ erd. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

York  office.  He  is  now  president  of  the  Norwegian  America  Line 
Agency,  which  conducts  the  business  of  the  Line  on  this  side  of  the  water. 

Berge  has  served  for  more  than  30  years  as  secretary  and  treasurer 
of  the  Norwegian  Lutheran  Deaconesses'  Home  and  Hospital  and  was, 
in  1939,  elected  president  of  the  institution.  He  has  also  been  interested 
in  numerous  other  worthy  endeavors.  He  was  born  in  Grimstad,  and 
he  is  a  Knight  of  the  Order  of  St.  Olav,  first  class. 

The  Norway  Mexico  Gulf  Line  was  an  interesting  undertaking, 
started  by  Captain  G.  M.  Bryde  in  the  Fall  of  1912,  at  the  time  when  the 
Norwegian  America  Line  was  making  ready  to  commence  operations. 
This  brought  Bryde  much  criticism  and  opposition.  The  Bryde  Line 
undertook  to  maintain  regular  traffic  between  Gothenburg,  Oslo,  New- 
port News,  Mexico,  New  Orleans  and  Philadelphia,  and  Captain  Bryde 
claimed  that  there  would  be  enough  freight  and  passenger  traffic  along 
this  route  to  make  the  Line  pay.  However,  after  the  World  War,  when 
the  conditions  in  shipping  became  bad,  the  Line  was  forced  to  cease  op- 
erations. Captain  Bryde  died  in  Mexico  in  1939,  74  years  old. 



NORWEGIAN  Good  Templar  Lodges  made  their  entrance  into 
Brooklyn  at  a  comparatively  early  date.  Scandia  was  organized  in 
1879  by  Adolph  Petersen,  a  Swede,  and  G.  T.  Ueland  became  one  of  its 
most  interested  members.  Menneskevennen  was  founded  in  1884,  with 
John  Engelsen,  a  barber,  as  the  chief  promotor.  Engelsen  was  for  many 
years  an  active  man  in  the  Colony.  He  died  in  1896,  and  was  buried 
with  much  honor. 

These  lodges  held  open  meetings  on  Sunday  evenings,  and  many 
people  would  gather  and  listen  to  Ueland,  Johnsen,  Norman,  and  Jakob- 
sen,  the  shoemaker,  when  they  explained  the  importance  of  the  temper- 
ance cause.  Mr.  Jakobsen,  in  particular,  did  good  work  among  Norwe- 
gian sailors,  bringing  them  to  the  meetings  of  the  Scandia  lodge  and 
getting  them  to  sign  the  pledge. 

The  best  period  for  the  Norwegian  Good  Templars  (International 
Order  of  Good  Templars)  was  between  1900 — when  the  lodge  Dovre 
was  organized — and  1919  when  the  war-time  Prohibition  Law  and,  a 
little  later,  the  Volstead  Act  became  effective.  Many  of  the  young  im- 
migrants who  arrived  in  those  years  had  been  Good  Templars  in  Nor- 
way and  were  anxious  to  continue  as  members  on  this  side  of  the  Atlantic. 
In  the  new  country  and  with  a  limited  acquaintanceship,  they  needed 
the  sociability  which  the  order  offered.  The  result  was  that  lodges 
sprang  up  right  and  left.  Next  after  Dovre  was  Norge  (1902),  Vort 
Land  (1903),  Kringsjaa,  Port  Richmond,  Staten  Island  (1903),  Nord- 
kap,  Hoboken  (1904),  Breidablik  (1904),  Lindesna?s  (1904),  Solvang 
(1907),  Oslo  (1907),  Asbj0rn  Kloster  (1907),  Stadt  (1908),  Fredens 
Baand,  Jersey  City,  (1909).  Permission  to  organize  the  Eidsvold  District 
Lodge  was  obtained  from  the  Scandinavian  Grand  Lodge  in  1905.  In  a 
publication  which  was  issued  in  1910,  when  Dovre  celebrated  its  tenth 
anniversary,  it  was  stated  that  the  Norwegian  lodges  at  that  time  had  a 
combined  membership  of  1,000.  In  addition  to  the  lodges  mentioned 



Norwegians  in  New  York 

above,  there  was  a  Danish  lodge  Dannebrog,  and  a  children's  lodge  Sol- 
skin,  having  membership  in  the  Eidsvold  District  Lodge.  Norge  at  one 
time  owned  the  house  at  335  Union  Street,  Brooklyn.  The  building  at 
256  19th  Street  was  purchased  by  a  building  committee  from  several 

Among  the  people  belonging  to  the  Order  in  those  days  may  be 
mentioned:  Bernhardt  Nelson,  Julius  M.  Selliken,  Axel  E.  Pedersen,  Juul 
and  Gustava  Bie,  Thora  Kartevold,  Helmin  Johnson,  Elsie  Dahl,  Thomas 
T0rreson  (in  the  Ward  Line),  Albert  T0rresen,  Ole  Axelson,  Karl  W. 
Hagtvedt,  Peder  Pedersen,  Mathilde  Johnsen,  Tjomst0l,  Hans  R0nnevig, 
H.  M.  Jabobson,  Johan  Waagnaes,  Peder  Olsen,  Meidel  Hansen,  S.  J. 
Arnesen,  Thorbj0rn  J.  Vikstvedt,  P.  A.  Pettersen,  Jenny  Hansen,  Sigurd 
Hafstad,  I.  Hausman  Larsen,  Trygve  Jensen,  Sam  Svenningsen,  Salve 
Folkestad,  Chris.  Bendixen,  Lars  Uri,  Roy  Thime,  Oscar  Wold. 

As  will  be  noticed,  the  Order  had  very  satisfactory  progress  for  a 
number  of  years,  but  then  came  prohibition.  It  was  assumed  that  when 
the  saloon  disappeared  it  would  no  longer  be  necessary  to  work  for  the 
temperance  cause.  The  public  lost  interest,  and  the  lodges,  which  had 
formed  a  live  and  active  element  in  the  Norwegian  Colony,  went  down 
one  by  one  until  Stadt  was  the  only  one  that  remained.  The  Good 
Templars  never  succeeded  in  regaining  the  lost  interest,  and  Stadt  is  still 
the  only  lodge  in  the  field.1 

A  similar  fate  overtook  the  White  Ribbon  (Det  hvite  Baand),  a 
Norwegian  branch  of  the  Women's  Christian  Temperance  Union.  This 
Society  was  for  many  years  led  by  Mrs.  Anna  Fedde,  Mrs.  Gurine  Wil- 
berg,  Mrs.  Theo.  Kartevold,  and  Mrs.  P.  Berge,  and  did  most  excellent 
work,  until  the  necessary  support  fell  off.  Thereafter,  the  Society  for 
some  years  operated  a  Lutheran  Hospice  for  Women  in  Bay  Ridge.  A 
Blue  Cross  Society  is  still  functioning  on  a  small  scale. 

In  the  Nineties,  Edward  Widness,  a  young  and  gifted  nephew  of 
John  Widness  in  Williamsburg,  was  one  of  the  most  energetic  and  effi- 
cient workers  for  the  cause  of  total  abstinence.  Young  Widness  had  de- 
termined to  devote  his  life  to  a  ceaseless  fight  against  the  saloon,  but 
unfortunately  he  died  at  an  early  age.  He  became  a  subscription  agent 
for  Voice,  published  by  Funk  &  Wagnalls,  one  of  the  strongest  or- 
gans for  temperance  and  prohibition  that  ever  saw  the  light  of  day.  The 

*History  of  the  T^orwegian  Good  Templars,  published  in  1910. 

The  Temperance  Cause 


subscribers  received  the  life  history  of  Wendell  Phillips  as  a  premium. 
Widness  attacked  the  church  people  for  not  taking  a  definite  stand 
against  the  liquor  traffic,  and  this  resulted  in  the  churches  starting  the 
organization  of  temperance  societies  —  Bethlehem  Church  in  Green- 
point;  Zion  Church,  Port  Richmond,  Staten  Island;  Immanuel  Church, 
the  Bronx;  the  Free  Church  in  Hoboken;  the  church  in  Elizabeth;  Be- 
thesda  and  the  Mission  on  Union  Hill.  These  various  groups  formed 
together  the  Atlantic  Total  Abstinence  Society  (Atlantic  Total  Afholds- 
selskap),  with  Captain  Peter  Berge  as  the  first  president.  In  1896,  under 
the  leadership  of  Pastor  M.  H.  Hegge,  a  Young  People's  Society  was 
organized  in  Trinity  Church  with  special  interest  in  missions  and 
temperance  and  music.  This  Christian  temperance  work  was  based  on 
the  principle  that  the  Church  should  regard  it  as  a  sacred  duty  to  bring 
this  ideal  of  total  abstinence  to  the  people. 

The  work  was  carried  on  with  vigor  and  enthusiasm,  and  eloquent 
speakers  from  the  outside  were  often  brought  in.  State  Senator  L0beck 
from  Alexandria,  Minn.,  visited  here  twice,  Adelsten  Berge  three  times, 
and  Mrs.  Mabel  Sletten  held  fourteen  successful  meetings  in  this  dis- 
trict during  December,  1910.  The  agitation  met  with  excellent  results, 
several  hundred  new  members  took  the  pledge,  and  the  Norwegian  or- 
ganization was  highly  respected  in  American  circles.  Good  speakers  were 
always  at  hand. 

When  the  ratification  of  the  Eighteenth  Amendment  was  under 
discussion  in  the  legislature  in  Albany,  a  mass  meeting  led  by  Dr.  A.  O. 
Fonkalsrud  was  held  in  Trinity  Church,  where  it  was  decided  to  send  a 
petition  to  Albany  requesting  that  the  ratification  be  adopted.  The  peti- 
tion was  signed  by  440  citizens.  When  the  amendment  was  finally  rati- 
fied, a  victory  banquet  for  200  persons  was  held  at  the  Bethesda  Mission. 

Among  the  leaders  in  the  movement  the  following  should  be  men- 
tioned: Rev.  C.  M.  Tollefsen,  Rev.  Thorvildson,  Dr.  A.  O.  Fonkalsrud, 
Rev.  A.  M.  Trelstad,  John  Munson,  John  Iversen,  and  Iver  Iversen.  Some 
of  them  were  candidates  on  the  prohibition  ticket. 

When  Prohibition  went  into  effect,  the  work  for  temperance  stag- 
nated and  virtually  ceased,  and  this,  in  the  opinion  of  Iver  Iversen,  was 
one  of  the  main  reasons  why  Prohibition  was  finally  revoked.2 

2Iver  Iversen,  the  untiring  temperance  man,  has  furnished  the  information  con' 
cerning  the  Atlantic  Total  Abstinence  Society. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 


Mrs.  Anna  Fedde,  wife  of  Dr.  Bernhard  A.  Fedde,  did  excellent 
work  for  many  years  for  the  temperance  cause  as  president  of  the  now 
dissolved  Norwegian  branch  of  the  Women's  Christian  Temperance 
Union  (the  White  Ribbon).  Mrs.  Fedde  was  born  in  La  Crosse,  Wis., 
but  she  grew  up  near  Troms0,  Norway.' 

3A.  N.  Rygg,  Hors\e  Kvinner  i  New  Tor\. 



N  the  Latter  Part  of  1915,  Christoffer  Hannevig  arrived  in  New 
York  and  started  his  extraordinary  career  on  this  side  of  the  Atlantic. 
He  brought  with  him  a  valuable  idea,  an  idea  to  the  effect  that  the  enor- 
mous destruction  of  tonnage  in  the  World  War  would  enhance  the  value 
of  ships  and  that  any  new  tonnage  that  could  be  provided  would,  so  to 
speak,  be  worth  its  weight  in  gold.  Hannevig  was  a  man  with  the  cour- 
age of  his  convictions.  It  was  said  that  he  had  $19,000  in  his  pocket, 
which  was  not  very  much  for  the  kind  of  business  he  was  going  into. 
But  he  found  a  shipbuilding  firm — the  Baltimore  Dry  Dock  and  Ship- 
building Company — which  was  willing  to  accept  his  orders.  And  Hanne- 
vig did  not  hesitate,  he  made  contracts  freely. 

When  Hannevig  first  came  to  New  York  he  was  an  entire  stranger, 
which  was  the  main  reason  why  he  entered  into  partnership  with  Vid- 
kunn  Johnsen,  from  Bergen,  who  had  experience  in  shipping  and  knew 
his  way  about.  This  combination,  the  firm  name  being  Hannevig  & 
Johnsen,  did  not  last  long.  The  partners  decided  to  go  their  separate  ways. 

By  this  time  the  whole  world  was  clamoring  for  tonnage,  and 
Christoffer  Hannevig,  Inc.,  sold  ships  in  various  stages  of  construction 
to  shipowners,  mostly  in  Norway,  and  at  an  immense  advance  in  price. 
A  contract  that  originally  was  worth  $100,000,  might,  a  few  months  later, 
fetch  $300,000.  It  was  reported  that  Hannevig  piled  up  a  fortune  of 
ten  million  dollars  within  a  year  after  starting  his  operations  in  America. 
A  certain  man,  who  was  in  a  position  to  know,  claimed  that  when  Han- 
nevig, about  January  r,  1918,  opened  his  bank  at  139  Broadway  —  the 
Hannevig  Marine  Trust  Company — he  had  about  five  and  one-half  mil- 
lion dollars  on  deposit  in  various  banks  that  he  had  no  immediate  use 
for.  The  management  of  the  bank  consisted  of  Director  General  Chris- 
toffer Hannevig,  Finn  Hannevig,  shipowner  and  brother  of  Christoffer, 
John  M.  B.  Grant,  and  Andreas  Stolt,  manager  in  charge.  Leif  Hammer 
became  manager  of  the  foreign  department. 



Norwegians  in  New  York 

It  was  about  this  time  that  Shipping  Illustrated  wrote:  "A  glance  at 
the  ownership  of  the  tonnage  building  in  this  country  for  cargo  carrying 
purposes  in  the  general  trades  will  reveal  that  the  Norwegians  are  over- 
whelmingly the  mainstay  of  the  American  shipbuilding  industry  of  today. 
There  is  more  of  enterprise,  imagination,  daring  in  what  Norway  is  do- 
ing than  has  been  displayed  in  ocean  trade  by  America  in  more  than 
half  a  century." 

In  a  speech  in  the  Fall  of  191 8,  Lord  NorthclifTe,  who  was  then  at 
the  top  of  his  fame  and  power,  praised  Norway  for  her  boldness  and 
vision  in  contracting  for  ships  in  America. 

About  this  time,  Hannevig  made  a  mistake  which  cost  him  the 
friendship  of  the  American  Shipping  Board.  In  an  interview  with  the 
Liverpool  Journal  of  Commerce,  he  spoke  lightly  of  the  American  efforts 
in  the  shipping  industry  were  hot  air  altogether.  The  United  States  could 
not  compete  with  England,  either  in  building  ships,  operating  them, 
or  manning  them. 

After  such  a  blast,  Hannevig  could  not  expect  much  good  will  from 
the  American  public  officials  he  had  to  deal  with. 

Sometimes  it  is  easier  to  make  money  than  to  keep  it.  In  the  latter 
part  of  1916,  Hannevig  had  acquired  the  Pusey  &  Jones  Company  ship- 
yards at  Wilmington,  Delaware.  He  had  also  built  the  Pennsylvania 
Shipbuilding  Company  and  the  New  York  Shipbuilding  Company  at 
Gloucester,  New  Jersey,  and  he  started  to  manufacture  ships  wholesale. 
He  even  had  yards  in  Toronto,  Canada,  and  in  Newfoundland.  The 
bank  in  Broadway  has  already  been  mentioned. 

The  United  States  entered  the  World  War  in  the  Spring  of  191 7, 
and  immediately,  through  its  Shipping  Board,  commenced  to  speed  up 
shipbuilding  in  this  country,  so  as  to  counteract  the  ravages  of  the  Ger- 
man U-boat  campaign.  Hannevig  was  encouraged  to  expand  his  yards 
in  order  to  be  able  to  turn  out  more  ships,  and  the  Shipping  Board  lent 
him  the  money  required  (about  five  million  dollars).  But  when  the  War 
suddenly  and  unexpectedly  came  to  an  end,  in  the  Fall  of  191 8,  and  there 
was  no  need  of  further  shipbuilding,  Hannevig  had  on  his  hands  these 
expensive  and  absolutely  useless  shipyards,  on  which,  besides,  he  owed 
great  sums  of  money.  The  American  Government  had,  however,  prom- 
ised "just  compensation"  for  all  ships,  completed  and  unfinished.  It  was 

During  the  World  War 


stated  some  time  in  1922  that  Hannevig's  claim  on  the  Shipping  Board 
amounted  to  fourteen  million  dollars,  while  his  liabilities  were  about 
twelve  million.1 

The  Norwegian  interests  in  the  numerous  shipbuilding  contracts  in 
America  divided  themselves  into  three  groups.  The  first  and  largest 
group  sought  the  assistance  of  the  Norwegian  Shipowners'  Association 
and  was  usually  called  the  "Stray"  group,  because  Emil  Stray  was  chair- 
man of  the  commission  sent  over  to  deal  with  the  American  authorities. 
This  group  represented  27  contracts  and  managed  without  much  delay 
to  obtain  a  satisfactory  compromise  settlement — thirty-four  and  one  half 
million  dollars. 

The  second  group — usually  called  the  Kristiania  group — represented 
15  contracts  and  refused  an  offer  of  about  two  and  one  half  million  dol- 
lars in  settlement.  This  group  took  the  matter  to  the  International  Court 
of  Arbitration  at  the  Hague,  where  it  won  a  settlement  of  about  twelve 
million  dollars. 

Hannevig  was  now  the  only  one  who  had  received  no  settlement, 
and  it  is  probably  true,  as  has  been  said,  that  he  was  shown  no  mercy. 
His  attorney  at  one  time  was  Charles  Evan  Hughes,  who  was  later  Chief 
Justice  of  the  United  States.  In  order  to  force  the  Shipping  Board  to 
reach  an  agreement  with  him,  he  took  the  matter  to  the  United  States 
Court  of  Claims,  where  he  asked  for  a  compensation  of  eleven  million 
dollars  for  the  building  of  thirty-four  ships  at  the  plants  of  Pusey  &  Jones 
Co.,  and  for  losses  sustained  when  the  Shipping  Board  cancelled  eleven 
other  contracts.  This  suit  was  not  of  any  benefit  to  Hannevig,  whose 
various  companies — including  Christoffer  Hannevig,  Inc.,  Pusey  &  Jones 
Co.,  and  the  bank  on  Broadway — went  into  receivership.  This  also  was 
the  case  with  certain  marine  insurance  companies  which  had  much  money 
on  deposit  in  his  bank,  and  in  which  Hannevig  had  heavy  interests. 

In  Norway,  a  good  many  people  felt  that  Hannevig  had  not  re- 
ceived fair  treatment.  The  Norwegian  Government,  therefore,  decided 
in  1927  to  send  F.  Herman  Gade  as  Commissioner  or  Minister  Extra- 
ordinary to  the  United  States  to  open  negotiations  in  the  Hannevig  case. 
Mr.  Wilhelm  Morgenstierne  accompanied  him  as  expert  adviser.  The 

1J^,ordis\  Tidende,  December  9,  1915;  January  13,  November  9,  1916;  January 
11,  April  12,  1917;  January  3,  1918;  January  2,  June  5,  23,  July  3,  1919; 
August  19,  September  16,  November  25,  1920;  February  17,  March  31,  July 
21.  August  25,  1921;  October  19,  November  16,  1922. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Commissioner  had  received  strict  instructions  that  no  direct  claim  was 
to  be  presented  to  the  American  Government,  but  that  the  negotiations 
should  be  based  on  the  assertion  that  Hannevig  had  not  received  a  fair 
and  reasonable  compensation  for  his  services  and  his  economic  sacrifices. 
It  was  not  believed  that  Hannevig  had  a  claim  that  could  be  enforced  by 
law.  When  Gade  nevertheless  made  the  mistake  of  presenting  a  direct 
claim,  he  was  met  with  a  firm  refusal  by  the  Government,  which  declared 
that  the  United  States  Government  did  not  owe  Hannevig  anything. 
This  brought  the  negotiations  to  a  close,  and  Gade,  having  failed  in  his 
mission,  was  placed  in  disposition,  that  is  to  say,  he  was  virtually  dropped 
as  a  Norwegian  officeholder. 

The  old  and  highly  respected  Minister,  Helmer  Bryn,  who  had  been 
in  Washington  since  1910,  and  who  had  from  the  start  refused  point- 
blank  to  have  anything  to  do  with  the  case,  even  when  directly  instructed 
by  his  Government,  lost  his  position  in  Washington.  He  was  later  ap- 
pointed Consul  General  at  Montreal,  Canada,  where  he  died  a  few  years 
later.  Many  people  felt  that  the  ruination  of  his  career  was  the  cause  of 
his  untimely  death. 

In  1938  the  case  was  taken  up  anew  by  the  Norwegian  Government 
and  negotiations  are  still  proceeding  between  the  two  countries.  The 
Hannevig  claim  with  interest  at  present  amounts  to  sixty-nine  million 

Due  to  the  immense  increase  in  traffic  which  the  World  War  brought 
with  it  and  also  because  it  was  considered  highly  desirable  to  have  a  Nor- 
wegian Chamber  of  Commerce  in  New  York  under  normal  circum- 
stances, such  an  institution — the  Norwegian-American  Chamber  of  Com- 
merce— was  started  in  June,  1915.  The  initiative  to  this  step  was  taken 
by  Consul  General  Chr.  Ravn,  and  the  first  permanent  board  consisted  of 
Max  Normann,  Capt.  Ove  Lange,  Gustave  Porges,  T.  Langland  Thomp- 
son, Henry  Mattlage,  John  A.  Gade,  Johs.  Andersen,  Edward  Klinken- 
berg,  A.  N.  Rygg,  H.  T.  Asche,  M.  Gintzler,  Ingvar  Tokstad.  Chicago 
and  St.  Paul  had  also  been  agitating  to  secure  this  Chamber  of  Com- 
merce, but  New  York  finally  won  out. 

The  Chamber  rendered  excellent  service  for  about  seven  years,  but 
when  times  grew  hard  after  the  World  War  it  proved  impossible  to  re- 
tain a  sufficient  number  of  members  to  avoid  yearly  deficits  and  it  was 

During  the  World  War 


therefore  decided  to  suspend  the  activities  of  the  Chamber  until  the  situa- 
tion became  more  favorable.  In  1930  the  Chamber  was  revived  with 
Herman  Kiaer  as  manager.  It  receives  some  support  from  the  Norwegian 
Government.  The  main  function  of  the  Chamber  is  to  furnish  informa- 
tion of  interest  and  value  to  business  people  on  both  sides  of  the  ocean, 
a  service  which  it  has  rendered  to  general  satisfaction.  When  Mr.  Kiaer 
resigned,  December  1,  1939,  to  go  into  private  business  in  New  York,  he 
was  succeeded  by  Sverre  Siqueland.  The  present  Board  consists  of  Her- 
man T.  Asche,  president;  Johs.  Andersen,  Morris  Gintzler,  C.  C.  Francis, 
S.  J.  Arnesen,  Peter  Berge,  Chr.  Bonge  (Bergen),  Consul  General  Rolf  A. 
Christensen,  Reidar  Due  (Oslo),  Berent  Friele,  C.  A.  Hanssen,  Olaf  N. 
Hertzwig,  H.  Hillestad,  Chas.  L.  Huisking,  Erling  Jenssen  (Trond- 
heim),  K.  Hv.  Knudsen,  Morten  Lind  (Oslo),  K.  G.  Martin,  R.  T.  Mich- 
elsen,  Ray  Morris,  Frank  C.  Page,  John  S0iland  (Stavanger),  R.  G. 
Westad,  B.  Westergaard,  Johs.  Westergaard. 

Some  idea  of  the  extent  of  the  trade  relations  today  between  the 
United  States  and  Norway  may  be  gathered  from  the  figures  for  import 
and  exports  between  the  two  countries  during  the  year  1939.  In  that  year, 
Norway  exported  to  the  United  States  products  valued  at  84,265,700 
Kroner.  The  most  important  goods  were  fish  and  fish  products,  cod  liver 
oil,  whale  oil,  salpeter  and  nitrates,  wood  pulp,  cellulose  and  newsprint, 
furs  of  silver  foxes  and  other  foxes,  ferromangan  and  other  metals.  Skis 
have  become  a  regular  article  of  export. 

In  the  same  year,  the  United  States  exported  to  Norway  goods  to  the 
value  of  147,322,600  Kroner.  The  most  important  goods  were  grain  and 
flour,  fruits,  vegetables,  tobacco,  chemicals,  rubber  goods,  cotton  and 
cotton  goods,  benzine  and  other  oils,  iron,  steel,  copper  and  other  metals, 
mechanical  apparatus,  and  automobiles.2 

During  the  World  War,  the  business  with  Norway  and  the  other 
Scandinavian  countries  was  increasing  to  such  an  extent  that  the  estab- 
lishment of  a  Scandinavian  bank  became  highly  desirable.  Consequently, 
the  Scandinavian  Trust  Company  was  incorporated  with  a  capital  of  two 
and  one-half  million  dollars,  and  the  incorporators  included  Johannes 
Andersen,  Charles  S.  Haight,  Edwin  O.  Holter,  F.  W.  Hvoslef,  and  E.  A. 
Cappelen-Smith.  A.  V.  Ostrem  from  Minneapolis  became  president,  and 

gorges  Handel  1939,  by  Det  statistiske  Sentralbyraa,  Oslo. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

the  bank  opened  on  Broadway  in  the  early  part  of  1917.  Business  was 
brisk  from  the  start.  In  fact,  it  was  so  good  that  after  a  couple  of  years 
an  advantageous  offer  was  received  for  its  purchase  or  consolidation  with 
the  Liberty  National  Bank.  It  was  deemed  more  profitable  to  accept 
the  offer  than  to  carry  on.  The  stockholders  could  either  sell  out  at  400 
per  cent  or  take  stock  in  the  new  bank.  And  so  an  enterprise  which  the 
Norwegian  element  in  New  York  took  considerable  pride  in  came  to 
an  end. 

During  the  years  of  the  World  War,  the  Norwegian  element  was 
quite  prominent  in  downtown  Broadway.  Christoffer  Hannevig,  with 
his  various  interests,  was  doing  business  on  one  side  of  Broadway  and 
almost  across  the  street  could  be  found  the  Norwegian-American  Securi- 
ties Corporation,  which,  it  was  claimed,  had  started  business  on  a  capital 
of  $900,000  obtained  in  Norway.  The  corporation  was  dealing  in  stocks 
and  bonds,  and  executed  transactions  between  Norway  and  America. 
Trygve  Barth  was  president  and  T.  Langland  Thompson  was  attorney 
for  the  corporation,  which,  however,  gradually  went  up  in  smoke.  A  little 
farther  down  on  Broadway,  the  Scandinavian  Trust  Company  did  a 
splendid  business;  but  this  banking  concern  received  such  a  fine  offer  to 
sell  out  or  merge  with  another  bank,  that  the  offer  could  not  be  rejected. 
And,  farther  down  along  this  famous  thoroughfare,  down  near  the  Bat- 
tery and  in  the  neighboring  streets,  there  were  Norwegian  concerns  of 
many  kinds — shipping  offices,  insurance  companies  and  purchasing  agen- 
cies— trying  to  obtain  and  ship  much-needed  goods  and  materials  to  Nor- 
way. Most  of  these  concerns  disappeared  as  soon  as  the  war  was  over. 

There  were  also  many  people  coming  over  from  Norway  who  had 
made  money  by  speculation,  mostly  in  shipping  stock,  and  who  for  the 
time  being  were  sitting  on  top  of  the  world.  The  Norwegians  were  in- 
vesting money  in  sugar  plantations  in  Java,  street  railways  in  Rio  de 
Janeiro,  amusement  establishments  in  Chapala,  Mexico,  gold  mines  in 
Arizona,  shipbuilding  plants  in  various  places,  and  nickel  mines  in  Sud- 
bury, Canada.  In  the  last  mentioned  affair,  Norwegians  had  sunk  eighteen 
million  dollars  and  their  English  friends  six  million  dollars.  All  that  they 
were  able  to  salvage,  when  finally  the  bottom  fell  out  of  the  market  after 
the  war,  was  five  million  dollars.3 

tTiordisk  Tidende,  January  29,  1925 

During  the  World  War 


In  New  York  some  of  these  young  business  men  from  Norway  at- 
tempted to  get  control  of  the  Norwegian  Colony  by  securing  three  stra- 
tegic strongholds:  the  Norwegian  Club,  the  Norwegian  -  American 
Chamber  of  Commerce  and  the  Norwegian  Consulate  General.  They 
came  to  dominate  the  Norwegian  Club,  which  was  natural,  as  they  in- 
creased the  membership  list  substantially,  and  they  had  been  promised 
considerable  financial  aid  from  Christoffer  Hannevig,  so  that  new  and 
commodious  club  quarters  could  be  secured. 

However,  when  this  younger  element  came  to  the  annual  meeting 
of  the  Chamber  of  Commerce  in  1919,  they  did  not  succeed  in  electing 
any  of  their  own  men.  And  when  the  Chamber  and  its  manager,  E. 
Klinkenberg,  were  attacked  in  Nordisf^  Tidende  by  Erling  Christoph- 
ersen,  president  of  the  Norwegian  Club,  the  situation  became  rather 
ridiculous.  Mr.  Christophersen  claimed  that  the  Chamber  was  in  need 
of  reform  and  stated  that  a  Dr.  Toothacker  in  Philadelphia  had  a  de- 
cidedly low  opinion  of  the  institution.  Dr.  Toothacker,  when  approached 
by  Mr.  Klinkenberg,  declared  that  he  did  not  even  know  that  such  a 
Chamber  existed. 

Neither  did  the  young  men  get  very  far  in  their  attack  on  Consul 
General  Hans  Fay,  who  had  been  appointed  to  this  office  in  the  Fall  of 
1920  and  was  regarded  as  an  able  and  conscientious  official.  Fay  was 
suddenly  sued  by  a  Trygve  Mamen  for  $100,000  and  by  Erling  Christoph- 
ersen for  $200,000,  in  both  cases  for  defamation  of  character.  The  Consul 
General,  however,  instantly  showed  fight  and  proved  to  be  a  very  aggres- 
sive and  inconsiderate  defendant.  Ordinarily  it  is  the  plaintiff  who  is 
anxious  to  speed  up  his  action,  but  in  these  cases,  it  was  the  defendant, 
Mr.  Fay.  The  Mamen  case  was  dismissed  on  its  merits  by  Judge  Winslow, 
and  that  was  the  last  of  that.  When  the  Christophersen  case  came  up  for 
trial,  Christophersen's  attorney  wanted  the  case  either  adjourned  or  dis- 
continued, inasmuch  as  his  witness,  former  Vice-Consul  Bjarne  Bonnevie, 
was  not  in  Court.  But  Consul  General  Fay  fought  for  an  immediate 
trial.  Under  the  law,  a  lawsuit  has  to  be  dropped  when  it  is  requested 
by  the  plaintiff,  so  that  the  judge  had  no  alternative  but  to  dismiss  the 
case  without  an  actual  hearing.  Neither  Mamen  nor  Christophersen 
made  any  further  appeal  to  the  courts.  They  evidently  had  had  enough. 

It  had,  of  course,  been  a  trying  time  for  Consul  General  Fay,  and 
the  Norwegians  in  New  York  did  their  best  to  make  him  forget  his 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

tribulations.  They  tendered  him  an  enthusiastic  testimonial  dinner  at 
the  Hotel  St.  George,  Brooklyn,  on  December  3,  1925.  About  200  per- 
sons were  present;  E.  A.  Cappelen-Smith  acted  as  master  of  ceremonies, 
and  eloquent  tributes  were  paid  to  the  guest  of  honor.  The  speakers 
were  H.  T.  Asche,  Captain  H.  M.  Doxrud,  G.  T.  Ueland,  Rev.  Oscar 
Bakke,  A.  N.  Rygg,  and  Rev.  J.  C.  Herre. 

A  similar  tribute  in  the  form  of  a  Farewell  Dinner  was  tendered  Mr. 
Fay  when  he  was  leaving  for  Sidney,  Australia,  to  which  country  he  was 
appointed  Consul  General  in  1928.  He  is  at  present  Minister  to  Mexico, 
Cuba,  and  the  Central  American  Republics. 

When  the  United  States  entered  the  World  War,  in  April,  1917, 
hundreds  of  boys  of  Norwegian  descent  were  called  out  for  service,  both 
in  the  Army  and  Navy.  The  soldier  boys  were  to  be  found  scattered  in 
all  the  training  camps  from  Maine  to  Spartanburg,  South  Carolina.  The 
Eastern  regiment  that  contained  most  Norwegian  soldiers  from  Brook- 
lyn and  New  York  was  the  308th,  New  York,  which  trained  at  Yaphank, 
Long  Island,  or  Camp  Upton — as  it  was  called  during  the  War. 

The  Norwegians  of  Brooklyn  were,  of  course,  anxious  to  give  their 
soldier  boys  a  rousing  send-off,  and  at  the  suggestion  of  Gunnar  Sconhoft, 
whose  brother  was  in  the  Army,  a  subscription  was  taken  up  and  a  box 
of  cigars  and  a  pair  of  warm  socks  were  sent  to  each  Norwegian  boy 
whose  name  could  be  obtained.  Many  festivities  were  also  arranged. 
November  1,  1917,  an  enthusiastic  meeting  with  a  fine  musical  program 
was  held  in  one  of  the  Y.M.C.A.  Huts  at  Camp  Upton.  A.  N.  Rygg 
acted  as  impressario,  Dr.  Lauritz  Larsen  delivered  the  oration,  Lawrence 
J.  Munson  played  the  piano,  and  other  musical  numbers  were  rendered 
by  Helen  Jacobs,  violinist,  and  Therese  Smith,  singer.  Sigurd  J.  Arnesen 
and  Reinhard  L.  Johnsen  were  the  organizers  of  this  meeting.  They 
were  at  the  time  Sergeant  and  Corporal  respectively.4  Arnesen  later  be- 
came Captain  and  Major. 

Right  after  New  Year,  191 8,  a  great  Christmas  tree  festival  was  ar- 
ranged for  the  soldiers  and  other  guests  in  Trinity  Church,  which  was  so 
crowded  with  people  that  the  program  had  to  be  repeated  downstairs. 
All  the  soldiers  received  presents.  The  speakers  were  Dr.  Chas.  Trexler, 
Rev.  S.  Turmo,  Rev.  Lauritz  Larsen  and  Rev.  C.  O.  Pedersen.  Mrs. 

*Hordis\  Tidende,  November  1,  1917;  January  3,  1918. 

During  the  World  War 


Theodore  Hansen  recited  poetry,  and  there  was  music  by  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Carl  H.  Tollefsen. 

On  that  occasion,  Charlotte  Lund  —  a  cousin  of  the  composer, 
Madame  Signe  Lund  —  sang  "The  Road  to  France"  beginning  "Who 
dares  for  us  the  battle's  chance  in  France."  Some  organization  had  put 
up  a  competition  for  the  best  war  song  and  Madame  Lund  won  the  first 
prize  of  $500.  The  song  never  became  popular,  as  the  music  was  too 
heavy.  About  600  composers  took  part  in  the  competition.  Some  years 
earlier,  Signe  Lund  had  composed  the  music  for  the  Bj0rnson  memorial 
celebration  in  Chicago. 

The  National  Lutheran  Council  estimated  that  there  were  90,000 
Norwegian-Americans  in  the  World  War.  This  conclusion  was  reached 
in  the  following  manner:  Inasmuch  as  more  than  40,000  soldiers  came 
from  the  Norwegian  church  bodies,  it  might  be  safe  to  multiply  this  by 
two,  and  add  10,000  more  for  those  who  served  in  the  Navy.5 

In  September,  1914,  a  couple  of  months  after  the  outbreak  of  the 
World  War,  a  well-known  ship  repairer  of  Brooklyn,  Mr.  A.  Olsen,  was 
subjected  to  many  irritating  questions  as  to  whether  it  was  his  purpose 
to  appear  as  a  war-making  power.  Olsen,  however,  explained  that  his 
intentions  were  of  the  most  peaceful  kind.  He  had  purchased  two  obso- 
lete torpedo  boats  from  the  Government  a  year  before,  intending  to  make 
use  of  the  materials  on  board  or  to  sell  the  ships  to  some  private  person. 
Since  then  the  ships  had  been  lying  at  the  Erie  Basin,  until  he  gave  them 
an  extra  coat  of  paint  to  prevent  rust  from  making  too  much  headway. 
It  was  this  activity  which  made  people  believe  that  Olsen  was  getting 
ready  for  the  war.6 

In  March,  191 8,  a  mass  meeting  of  Norwegians  was  held  in  the 
Century  Theater  near  Central  Park,  New  York,  where  Roald  Amund- 
sen was  the  main  speaker.  Under  an  arrangement  with  the  Committee 
of  Public  Information  of  the  American  Government,  the  Norwegian  ex- 
plorer had  been  taken  to  the  front  and  on  the  battlefields  in  France  for 
the  purpose  of  gathering  material  for  addresses  to  his  countrymen  in  the 
United  States.  The  idea  was  to  arouse  them  to  patriotic  endeavor,  an 

5Hordis\  Tidende,  June  17,  1920. 
6XLordis\  Tidende,  October  1,  1914. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

effort  that  was  hardly  necessary.  The  other  speaker  on  this  occasion  was 
Senator  Knute  Nelson.  Edwin  O.  Holter  was  the  master  of  ceremonies, 
and  Ole  Windingstad  and  his  orchestra  played  patriotic  music,  one  of 
the  numbers  being  Dengang  jeg  drog  avsted. 

In  the  campaigns  for  the  Victory  Loans,  held  to  raise  money  for 
loans  to  our  Allies,  Attorney  Rodney  T.  Martinsen  rendered  a  fine  service 
as  chairman.  It  was  said  that  there  were  8,200  Norwegian  subscribers 
to  one  of  these  Loans.  One  of  the  campaign  committees  consisted  of 
Trygve  Barth,  Olaf  N.  Hertzwig,  Einar  B.  Eriksen,  T.  Langland  Thomp- 
son, Andreas  Stolt,  Leif  H.  Strom,  Christoffer  Hannevig,  A.  N.  Rygg, 
Th.  Jullum,  F.  W.  Hvoslef,  Rev.  Lauritz  Larsen,  Rev.  A.  M.  Trelstad, 
Fred  M.  Werner,  Ingvald  Tonning,  Haakon  W.  Ramberg,  Chr.  Steendal, 
G.  Hartmann,  Karl  Krogstad,  Rev.  Iver  Tharaldsen,  Abram  S.  Helle, 
T.  H.  Dahlin,  C.  A.  Hanssen,  Juel  Bie,  Sverre  Barth,  Christian  Nielsen, 
Gunnar  A.  Sconhoft,  Carl  Platou,  E.  T.  Christensen,  Chr.  Willumsen.7 

At  one  of  these  meetings,  in  the  Brooklyn  Academy  of  Music,  held 
in  the  beginning  of  May,  1919,  a  good  many  of  the  soldiers  were  back 
again  from  France.  Some  of  the  Norwegian  soldiers  who  had  disting- 
uished themselves  in  the  War  were  on  the  stage  as  an  added  attraction. 
The  first  Norwegian  soldier  to  be  mentioned  is  Reidar  Waaler.  When 
the  27th  Division  of  the  American  Army  paraded  through  the  streets  of 
New  York  after  its  return  from  France  in  the  Spring  of  19 19,  he  had  the 
honor  of  cutting  the  silken  cord  and  of  being  the  first  soldier  to  pass 
through  the  Victory  Arch  at  Fifth  Avenue  and  Washington  Square.  He 
was  from  Oslo,  and  he  had  only  been  in  New  York  two  years  when  he 
volunteered  for  military  service.  Waaler  received  the  Congressional  Medal 
of  Honor,  the  British  Distinguished  Conduct  Medal,  and  other  medals 
because  he  had  acted  with  conspicuous  gallantry  on  various  occasions, 
particularly  in  the  severe  fighting  around  Le  Catelet.  He  was  recom- 
mended for  the  officers'  training  school,  but  the  fact  that  he  was  not  an 
American  citizen  prevented  him  from  taking  advantage  of  this. 

Corporal  John  A.  Nielsen  from  Farsund,  who  before  the  World  War 
owned  a  bicycle  shop  in  South  Brooklyn,  was  awarded  a  medal  for 
bravery,  because  in  the  face  of  great  danger  he  went  out  in  No  Man's 
Land  and  brought  in  three  wounded  comrades.  He  served  in  the  Medi- 
cal Corps. 

tHordiskTidende,  February  27,  1919. 

During  the  World  War 


Corporal  Haakon  Rossum,  Brooklyn,  was  a  member  of  the  Lost 
Battalion.  He  and  his  men  were  placed  in  such  an  exposed  position  that 
they  were  under  fire  from  two  directions.  Rossum  was  decorated  because 
he  stuck  to  his  post  with  great  determination.  He  died  in  1925,  36  years 
old,  suffering  from  gas  poisoning  and  seventeen  rifle  shots.  He  was  from 

Corporal  Olsen,  Brooklyn,  was  a  member  of  the  Intelligence  Service 
and  was  decorated  because  during  an  attack  he  stuck  to  his  telephone  post 
for  three  days  without  anything  to  eat  or  drink.  He  had  shown  an  en- 
durance that  was  almost  unbelievable.9 

Corporal  Alf  Helmer  received  the  Medaille  Militaire  from  the 

Dr.  Peter  A.  Reque  served  in  the  Medical  Corps  in  France,  as  Cap- 
tain. He  was  born  near  Madison,  Wis.,  in  1869,  and  educated  at  Luther 
College,  Decorah,  Iowa.  He  has  practiced  in  Brooklyn  for  43  years. 

One  of  the  first  Americans  to  die  in  France  was  Leif  Norman  Bar- 
clay, a  son  of  Dr.  H.  V.  Barclay.  He  was  a  member  of  the  Lafayette 

Among  other  Norwegian  soldiers  who  distinguished  themselves  may 
be  mentioned:  John  Isaksen,  who  received  a  citation  from  the  General  of 
Division,  Robert  H.  Alexander,  for  extraordinary  bravery  at  the  Vesle 
River,  near  Ville  Savoy. 

Corporal  Tilford  Larsen,  Brooklyn,  Company  A,  106th  Infantry, 
cited  for  courage  and  inspiring  example  frequently  demonstrated  during 
the  battle  of  the  Hindenburg  Line,  France.  Under  the  heaviest  fire,  this 
soldier  performed  all  duties  with  the  greatest  coolness  and  disregard  of 
danger,  even  after  being  stunned  by  shells  bursting  near  him.  While  lead- 
ing his  squad  past  Guillemont  Farm  on  the  morning  of  September  29, 
1 91 8,  he  was  killed.11 

Corporal  Howard  E.  Petersen,  Brooklyn,  Company  B,  105th  Infan- 
try, cited  for  extraordinary  courage  and  skill  while  in  command  of  a 
patrol  making  a  reconnaissance.  He  came  upon  an  enemy  machine  gun 
post  and,  although  outnumbered,  succeeded  in  destroying  the  nest  and 

sHordis\  Tidende,  May  7,  1925. 
9?iordis\  Tidende,  May  8,  1919. 
10Hordis\  Tidende,  April  18,  1918. 
"Hordis\  Tidende,  March  13,  1919. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

taking  prisoners.  He  was  later  killed  in  a  similar  exploit.  This  was  dur- 
ing the  battle  of  Le  Sclle  River,  France,  October  17,  1918. 

Mechanic  Jens  A.  Jensen,  Brooklyn,  Company  B,  106th  Infantry, 
cited  for  courage  and  effective  use  of  a  Lewis  gun  until  killed  by  hostile 
machine  gun  fire.  This  was  in  the  battle  of  the  Hindenburg  Line,  Sep- 
tember 27,  1 91 8. 

Private,  first  class,  Reinhardt  P.  Hanson,  Ambulance  Company  107, 
cited  for  courage  and  efficient  work  in  the  evacuation  of  wounded  under 
fire  during  the  battle  of  the  Hindenburg  Line,  September  27-30,  191 8. 

Cited  for  bravery:  Corporal  A.  Rosenvold,  307th  Infantry;  Private  J. 
J.  Monson,  Private  A.  Johnson,  308th  Infantry;  Private  S.  Berg,  302nd 
Engineers,  Corporal  G.  H.  Johnson,  305th  Field  Artillery. 

Awarded  Distinguished  Service  Cross:  Private  J.  J.  Monson. 

Captain  Jacob  Hiorth  was  a  Lieutenant  in  the  U.  S.  Naval  Reserve 
during  the  war,  and  later  he  was  a  Captain  for  the  Shipping  Board.12 

Captain  Peter  Netland,  born  in  Flekkefjord,  served  as  Lieutenant 
Commander  during  the  war.  He  died  in  July,  1923.13 

During  the  war,  Captain  August  Gabrielsen  was  a  Captain  for  the 
Shipping  Board.  Later  he  became  a  master  of  large  yachts,  and  he  was 
killed  by  an  accident  in  Charleston,  S.  C.  He  was  born  in  Larvik.14 

Trygve  Mordt,  from  Brooklyn,  acquired  the  reputation  of  being  the 
best  athlete  in  the  U.  S.  Navy  during  the  war.15 

Engineer  Nick  K.  Fougner,  president  of  Fougners  Staalbeton  Skibs- 
byggeri  at  Moss,  came  to  the  United  States  in  February,  1918,  to  start 
an  American  company  for  the  building  of  reinforced  concrete  ships.  The 
idea  was  workable,  but  not  practicable,  as  the  ships  were  too  heavy  and 
too  unwieldy.16 

Captain  Asborn,  master  of  the  Munargo  and  other  ships  of  the  Mun- 
son  Line,  served  as  Lieutenant  Commander  in  the  Navy  during  the 
World  War.17 

A  Norwegian  couple  who  came  to  Brooklyn  in  1896 — Rudolf  and 
Maren  Eliasen — had  their  three  sons  in  the  Army  during  the  World  War. 

127iordis\  Tidende,  August  28,  1919. 
13Hordis\  Tidende,  July  23,  1923. 
14Nor,du^  Tidende,  June  19,  1919. 
15Hordis\  Tidende,  May  22,  1919. 
16Hordis\  Tidende,  February  7,  1918 
17?{ordis\  Tidende,  September  29,  1921. 

During  the  World  War 


It  caused  a  great  deal  of  excitement  in  New  York  and  other  Ameri- 
can seaports  when  the  German  merchant  submarine  Deutschland  in  July, 
1 916,  appeared  unheralded  in  Baltimore  harbor  with  a  cargo  of  dyes  and 
chemicals.  It  was  disquieting  for  those  who  hitherto  had  regarded  sub- 
marine warfare  as  possible  only  in  European  waters. 

Then  in  October,  1916,  a  large  German  U-boat  —  U-53  —  appeared 
outside  the  coast  and  succeeded  in  sending  some  ships  to  the  bottom. 
According  to  the  U-boat,  they  were  carrying  supplies  to  the  Allies.  One 
of  these  unlucky  ships,  the  Norwegian  steamer  Christian  Knudsen,  went 
down  near  Nantucket  Lightship.18 

In  the  summer  of  191 8,  other  German  U-boats  made  their  appear- 
ance on  this  side  of  the  Atlantic  and  sank  some  twenty  ships,  among 
them  Eidsvold,  V inland,  Vindeggen,  Kringsjaa,  Sommerstad,  the  bark 
Nordhav  and  some  other  Norwegian  ships.19 

Norway  does  not  produce  grain  and  other  foodstuffs  in  sufficient 
quantities  to  supply  her  population  fully,  and  a  great  deal  of  wheat,  rye, 
etc.,  must  of  necessity  be  brought  in  from  the  outside.  When  these  and 
other  supplies  were  running  low  in  Norway  in  1917  and  the  United 
States  placed  stringent  restrictions  on  such  exports,  the  Norwegian  Gov- 
ernment sent  a  Commission  to  America  to  negotiate  with  the  War  Trade 
Board  for  sufficient  supplies  to  maintain  the  Norwegian  population.  Dr. 
Fridtjof  Nansen  was  president  of  the  Commission  and  Wilhelm  Morgen- 
stierne,  at  present  Minister  in  Washington,  was  secretary.  Nansen  was 
a  name  to  conjure  with  and  the  Commission  succeeded  in  making  satis- 
factory arrangements  with  the  War  Trade  Board,  so  that  Norway,  during 
the  remainder  of  the  War,  had  no  particular  anxiety  on  the  score  of 
foodstuffs.  The  United  States  was  about  the  only  country  in  the  world 
which  had  supplies  of  this  character  to  dispose  of. 

A  nasty  incident  happened  during  these  negotiations.  John  Eiesland, 
from  somewhere  near  Kristiansand  and  professor  of  mathematics  at  the 
University  of  West  Virginia,  published  an  unjust  and  uncalled  for  at- 
tack on  Norway  and  the  Commission  in  the  New  Yot\  Times.  He  stated 
that  the  educated  classes  in  Norway  had  never  been  friendly  to  the 

18Hordis\  Tidende,  October  12,  1916. 
lsHor,dis\  Tidende,  June  13,  August  15,  1918. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Norwegian-Americans,  or  to  the  United  States.  It  was  implied  in  the 
article  that  many  Norwegians  were  siding  with  Germany  and  that  they 
ought  to  take  sides  with  the  United  States  if  they  expected  favors  from 

This  article  was  answered  by  Vilhelm  Krag  in  the  Tidens  Tegn, 
Oslo.  Vilhelm  Krag  knew  Eiesland  from  his  school  days  in  Kristiansand, 
and  he  roasted  Eiesland  over  the  coals.  But  in  his  indignation  he  was 
incautious  enough  to  attack  the  Norwegian-Americans  as  a  whole,  with 
the  result  that  dozens  of  Norwegian-American  writers  jumped  on  him. 
The  matter  was  finally  closed  when  Mr.  Krag  made  a  sincere  apology.  It 
was,  he  said,  true  that  he  had  ridiculed  the  Norwegian-Americans  for 
mixing  the  language,  but,  during  this  press  fight,  he  had  come  to  the 
conclusion  that  they  could  use  their  mother  tongue  with  excellent  effect 
when  it  was  required.20 

In  the  Spring  of  191 8,  the  authorities  in  charge  of  the  Liberty  Loan 
Campaigns  in  New  York  City  invited  all  foreign  groups  to  take  part  in 
the  great  Liberty  Parade  to  be  held  on  Fifth  Avenue  on  July  4.  It  is 
needless  to  say  that  all  groups  did  their  very  best  to  make  a  good  show- 
ing, and  the  parade  came  to  be  an  interesting  and  colorful  event.  On  this 
occasion  the  Norwegians,  led  by  William  Schenstr0m  as  marshal,  did 
themselves  proud,  having  some  3,500  persons  in  the  parade,  with  flags 
and  banners,  three  music  bands,  and  two  picturesque  floats.  One 
of  the  floats  depicted  Leiv  Eiriksson  and  his  discovery  of  America.  The 
other  illustrated  the  sinking  of  more  than  800  Norwegian  ships  by 
German  U-boats.  The  Norwegian  Hospital  was  represented  in  the  parade 
by  ambulances,  deaconesses,  and  a  large  number  of  nurses.  The  follow- 
ing were  members  of  the  committee  on  arrangements:  T.  Langland 
Thompson,  Trygve  Barth,  Christoffer  Hannevig,  A.  N.  Rygg,  Leif  Str0m, 
Thormod  Jullum,  and  E.  B.  Eriksen  of  the  Norwegian  National  League. 

During  the  World  War,  a  Norwegian  woman,  Mrs.  Olivia  Kindle- 
berger,  attracted  wide  attention  by  knitting  ten  sweaters  for  the  Red 
Cross  and  the  soldiers  in  less  than  seven  days.  In  a  little  more  than  two 
months,  she  knitted  fifty  sweaters,  and  she  was  regarded  as  the  champion 

20Xordis\  Tidende,  August  2,  1917;  February  7  and  28,  1918. 

During  the  World  War 


knitter.  Mrs.  Kindleberger  was  married  to  Rear  Admiral  David  Kindle- 
berger,  Chief  of  Health  of  the  Navy.21 

The  Foreign  Language  Information  Bureau  was  established  by  the 
United  States  Government  during  the  World  War  and  had  for  its  object 
the  dissemination  of  information  of  value  to  the  foreign  groups.  After 
the  War,  the  Bureau  was  made  a  permanent  institution  with  headquarters 
in  New  York  City,  and  is  maintained  by  foundations  and  private  means. 
It  furnishes  useful  articles  to  foreign  language  newspapers  and  supplies 
dependable  and  free  information  on  a  wide  range  of  subjects  to  members 
of  foreign  groups.  It  has  a  Norwegian  department.  The  name  has  lately 
been  changed  to  Common  Council  for  American  Unity,  and  the  work 
which  the  Foreign  Language  Information  Service  has  been  doing  for 
twenty-two  years  will  be  carried  on  and  will  further  a  feeling  of  unity 
and  mutual  understanding  among  the  American  people.  Major  S.  J. 
Arnesen  is  one  of  its  directors. 

21Xordis\  Tidende,  February  7,  1918. 



THE  Norwegians  in  New  York  have,  as  has  been  shown,  disting- 
uished themselves  in  many  fields  of  endeavor,  in  shipping,  as  seamen 
and  fishermen,  as  engineers,  as  carpenters  and  in  other  branches  of  the 
building  trades.  And  they  have  likewise,  as  a  group,  made  their  mark 
in  Social  Service.  Let  it  also  be  said  that  representatives  of  their  race  have 
become  prominent  in  various  branches  of  the  fine  arts. 

No  artist  of  Norwegian  origin  has  had  a  higher  standing  in  the 
United  States  than  the  painter  Jonas  Lie,  who  died  in  New  York,  Janu- 
ary 10,  1940,  at  the  age  of  59  years.  Artistically  he  put  Norway  on  the 
map  in  the  United  States. 

Lie  was  born  in  1880  in  Moss,  Norway,  where  his  father,  the  engin- 
eer Sverre  Lie,  had  taken  up  his  abode  with  his  young  American  wife, 
Helen  Augusta  Steele,  of  Hartford,  Conn.,  after  a  stay  of  some  years  in 
New  York  about  1870.  His  father  died  while  Jonas  was  still  a  boy,  and 
his  mother  who  was  in  straitened  circumstances,  returned  in  1893  to 
America  with  her  three  children.  Jonas,  who  helped  support  the  family, 
was  compelled  to  struggle  hard  during  his  early  life.  For  nine  years 
he  worked  as  a  designer  in  a  cotton  factory,  but  he  gradually  won  out, 
and  he  died  as  one  of  the  foremost  artists  in  America.  His  work  was 
marked  by  exuberant  color.  Possibly  his  most  famous  paintings  are  the 
dozen  canvases  of  the  building  of  the  Panama  Canal,  which  he  painted 
on  the  spot  in  1913.  Ten  of  these  hang  in  the  Military  Academy  at 
West  Point,  the  gift  of  an  anonymous  donor  as  a  memorial  to  Major 
General  George  Washington  Goethals,  the  Canal's  builder.  The  other 
two  were  sold  to  museums,  one  of  them,  "The  Conquerors — Culebra 
Cut",  to  the  Metropolitan  Museum  of  Art.  There  are  also  pictures  of 
his  to  be  found  in  the  Luxembourg  Museum  of  Paris,  the  Corcoran  Gal- 
lery in  Washington,  Carnegie  Institute  of  Pittsburgh  and  in  many  other 
galleries.  A  beautiful  painting,  "Herring  Cove  at  Dawn",  painted  on 
the  New  England  coast,  was  purchased  by  a  group  of  Norwegian- 


In  the  World  of  Art 


Americans  in  New  York  for  presentation  to  Crown  Prince  Olav  of  Nor- 
way and  Princess  Martha  of  Sweden  at  the  time  of  their  wedding  in  1929. 
It  hangs  in  their  home  at  Skaugum.  In  1933,  Lie  painted  a  picture  of 
Amberjac\  II,  a  yacht  on  which  President  Roosevelt  cruised,  and  pre- 
sented it  to  the  President.  It  now  hangs  in  the  oval  room  of  the  White 
House.  His  last  work  was  a  series  of  pictures  from  the  Gaspe  Peninsula 
in  Eastern  Canada. 

A  good  many  honors  came  to  Jonas  Lie.  He  had  been  president  of 
the  National  Academy,  trustee  of  the  Metropolitan  Museum  of  Art,  mem- 
ber of  the  New  York  Art  Commission,  and  member  of  the  board  of  con- 
trol of  the  American  Federation  of  Arts  in  Washington.  In  1932,  he  was 
made  a  Knight  of  the  Order  of  St.  Olav. 

Mr.  Lie's  awards  include  a  silver  medal,  St.  Louis  Exposition,  1904; 
first  Hallgarten  prize,  National  Academy  of  Design,  1914;  Greenough 
Memorial  prize,  Newport,  1925;  Carnegie  prize,  National  Academy  of 
Design,  1927;  Maida  Gregg  Memorial  prize,  National  Arts  Club,  1929; 
Olympic  Award,  Amsterdam,  1928;  prize,  Pennsylvania  Academy  of  Fine 
Arts,  1935;  Saltus  Medal  of  Merit,  nth  annual  exhibition,  National 
Academy  of  Design,  and  an  award  from  the  National  Institute  of  Immi- 
grant Welfare  in  recognition  of  significant  contribution  to  American  life. 

Mr.  Lie  was  married  twice.  His  first  marriage,  to  Charlotte  E.  Nis- 
sen,  ended  in  the  divorce  courts  in  1916.  That  same  year  he  married  Miss 
Inga  Sontum,  a  Norwegian  dancer.  She  died  in  1925.  One  daughter, 
Miss  Sonja  Lie,  survives.  Jonas  Lie  was  a  nephew  of  the  famous  Norwe- 
gian novelist  of  the  same  name. 

At  the  funeral  services,  January  13,  in  St.  Bartholomew's  Protestant 
Episcopal  Church,  50th  Street  and  Park  Avenue,  New  York,  Mayor 
Fiorello  H.  LaGuardia,  Wilhelm  Morgenstierne,  Minister  of  Norway  to 
the  United  States,  and  many  other  prominent  men  were  present.  Burial 
took  place  in  Hillside  Cemetery,  Plainfield,  N.  J.  In  All  Souls  Unitarian 
Church  in  that  city,  where  Lie,  some  years  ago,  painted  the  mural,  "I 
Will  Lift  Up  Mine  Eyes  to  the  Hills,"  the  last  services  took  place  before 

While  on  the  subject  of  painters  and  pictures,  it  might  be  in  order 
to  mention  that  the  world-famous  Metropolitan  Museum  in  New  York 
bought  a  picture  by  Arnold  Klagstad,  Minneapolis,  in  December,  1939. 
The  canvas  is  entitled  "Industrial  Landscape"  and  depicts  a  mill  on  the 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

shore  of  the  Mississippi,  with  trees  and  painted  in  rich  colors.  The  artist 
served  in  the  World  War  and  took  up  painting  when  he  was  back  in 
private  life.  His  father,  August  Klagstad,  is  also  a  painter.1 

The  artist,  Sigurd  Skou,  was  born  in  Fredrikshald  and  came  as  a 
young  boy  to  New  York  where  he  studied  painting  and  also  worked  as  an 
assistant  to  a  painter  of  theatrical  scenery.  Later,  Skou  was  engaged  as  a 
newspaper  artist  and  journalist  by  the  New  Yor\  Herald  and  the  World. 
After  a  stay  in  Paris  he  devoted  himself  entirely  to  painting.  He  had  sev- 
eral successful  exhibitions  and  was  becoming  one  of  the  best  known 
painters  in  the  United  States,  but  he  died  at  a  comparatively  early  age.2 

Brynjulf  Strandenars  came  to  New  York  some  thirty  years  ago  from 
Oslo,  where  he  already  as  a  youth  had  become  known  as  a  clever  pen 
and  ink  artist.  He  soon  proved  himself  to  be  a  gifted  illustrator,  but  has 
for  many  years  devoted  himself  exclusively  to  painting,  particularly  to 
portrait  painting,  in  which  branch  he  has  acquired  a  prominent  name  in 
New  York. 

Johan  Bull,  the  well-known  illustrator,  came  in  the  early  Twenties 
from  Oslo  to  New  York  as  a  full-fledged  pen  and  ink  artist.  He  has  done 
much  excellent  work  as  an  illustrator  of  books  and  magazines  and  stands 
high  in  his  profession. 

The  painter,  Olaf  M.  Brauner,  is  head  of  the  Department  of  Fine 
Arts  at  Cornell  University,  Ithaca,  New  York,  and  has  had  several  exhi- 
bitions in  New  York  City.  He  has  won  many  prizes.  His  father  was 
a  wood  engraver.  Brauner  was  born  in  Oslo,  but  was  educated  in  America. 

Chiefly  through  the  efforts  of  the  American-Scandinavian  Society 
(later  the  Foundation)  and  its  president,  John  A.  Gade,  an  outstanding 
exhibition  of  Scandinavian  paintings  was  held  in  1912  at  the  American 
Art  Galleries  in  New  York.  The  Norwegian  painter,  Henrik  Lund  (a 
brother  of  the  composer  Signe  Lund),  was  the  artistic  director  and  the 
exhibition  attracted  much  attention.  The  three  Scandinavian  countries 
sent  some  of  their  finest  paintings  and  afterwards  the  exhibition  was 
shown  in  a  number  of  large  cities  in  the  United  States. 

Edward  Folstad  in  Edgewater,  New  Jersey,  has  for  many  years  been 
employed  as  a  designer  by  a  well-known  firm  of  weavers.  He  has  also  a 
good  name  as  a  painter  of  landscapes.  At  one  time  Mr.  Folstad  was 

JN.  N.  Ronning  in  S\andinaven,  February  2,  lO^n. 
*Hordis\  Udende,  March  15,  1923. 

In  the  World  of  Art 


active  in  Norwegian  societies.  He  is  from  Northern  Norway  and  was 
71  years  old  in  1941. 

Olav  Flatab0  has  recently  decorated  the  Norway  Restaurant  in 
downtown  New  York  and  has,  in  particular,  taken  his  subjects  from 
shipping  and  the  sea. 

Mons  Breidvik,  the  painter,  returned  to  Norway  in  1936  after  a  stay 
in  New  York  of  12  years. 

Gunvor  Bull-Teilman  had  an  exhibition  of  her  pictures  in  New 
York  in  1938,  and  won  recognition  and  appreciation  for  her  artistic 
ability.  F.  Lyder  Frederickson  is  a  comparative  newcomer  in  New  York. 

In  December,  1919,  an  exhibition  took  place  in  New  York  of  57 
prints,  etchings  and  water  colors  by  the  famous  Norwegian  painter, 
Edward  Munch.3 

Brooklyn  Museum  opened  in  October,  1925,  a  separate  department 
for  old  and  modern  Norwegian  applied  art:  pictorial  weavings,  silver- 
ware, wood  carvings,  cupboards,  etc.4 

The  famous  picture  "Leiv  Eiriksson  Discovers  America",  by  the 
Norwegian  painter,  Christian  Krogh,  has  always  been  regarded  as  the 
most  striking  depiction  of  that  historic  event.  The  original  hangs  at  the 
National  Gallery  in  Oslo.  In  1925  Dr.  Alf  Bjercke  and  some  other  Nor- 
wegians commissioned  Per  Krogh,  a  son  of  Christian  Krogh,  and  also 
a  well-known  painter,  to  make  a  copy  of  the  painting  as  a  gift  to  the 
Government  of  the  United  States.  Wilhelm  Morgenstierne,  Minister 
from  Norway,  and  Senator  Albin  Barkley  from  Kentucky,  spoke  at  the 
presentation  ceremonies.  The  painting  hangs  at  the  Capitol,  Washing- 
ton, D.  C. 

Trygve  Hammer,  a  brother  of  the  singer  Rolf  Hammer,  has  for  a 
long  time  been  recognized  as  a  sculptor  of  high  qualifications.  Some  years 
ago,  one  of  his  works,  "The  Hawk",  attracted  much  attention.  A  bust 
by  Hammer  of  Roald  Amundsen  was  displayed  on  the  stage  of  the 
Brooklyn  Academy  of  Music  at  the  memorial  festival  for  the  great  Nor- 
wegian explorer  in  1928.  Besides  his  work  as  a  sculptor,  he  has  done 
much  wood  carving  and  ornamentation  in  metal  in  old  Norwegian  style. 
Hammer  was  born  in  Arendal  in  1878,  studied  art  in  Germany,  and 
came  to  New  York  in  1904. 

37<lordis\  Tidende,  December  4,  1919. 
4Hordis\  Tidende.  October  15.  1925. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Sigurd  Neandross  (S0rensen)  was  born  in  Stavanger,  Norway, 
where  his  father  was  a  sea  captain.  For  many  years  he  has  been  in  the 
employ  of  the  Museum  of  Natural  History  in  New  York  as  modeler.  He 
lives  near  Ridgefield,  New  Jersey.  One  of  his  larger  works  is  "The  Song 
of  the  Sea",  a  woman  leaning  against  a  harp,  listening  to  the  sound  of 
the  wind  in  the  strings.  This  work  is  in  Copenhagen.  Two  other  works, 
"The  Kiss"  and  "The  Egyptian  Widow",  have  received  much  favorable 

Paul  Fjelde,  the  sculptor,  belongs  to  a  gifted  family.  His  father, 
Jakob  Fjelde,  was  also  a  sculptor  and  is  the  creator  of  many  works  in 
the  Northwest.  Best  known  is,  perhaps,  the  Ole  Bull  statue  in  Minneapo- 
lis, which  was  dedicated  May  17,  1897.  The  Hiawatha  statue  in  the  same 
city  is  also  from  his  hands. 

Paul  Fjelde  has  made  the  statue  of  Colonel  Hans  Heg  in  Madison, 
Wisconsin,  a  replica  of  which  stands  at  the  birthplace  of  the  celebrated 
warrier  in  Lier,  near  Drammen,  Norway.  These  two  statues  were  un- 
veiled at  the  same  time,  about  January  1,  1925.  In  1923,  Fjelde  was  com- 
missioned by  the  Norwegian-Danish  Press  Association  to  make  a  bronze 
tablet  in  honor  of  the  pioneer  editor,  Paul  Hjelm-Hansen,  who  at  an 
early  date  explored  the  Red  River  Valley  and  published  his  valuable  ob- 
servations on  his  travels.  The  tablet  hangs  in  the  building  of  the  Min- 
nesota Historical  Society,  in  St.  Paul.  He  has  also  made  the  bust  of  Abra- 
ham Lincoln  in  Frogner  Park,  Oslo.  This  bust  was  donated  by  the  State 
of  North  Dakota  in  1914,  when  Norway  celebrated  the  hundredth  anni- 
versary of  her  Constitution.  Paul  Fjelde  is  at  present  instructor  in  model- 
ing and  sculpture  at  Pratt  Institute,  Brooklyn.  In  1940  he  completed  a 
bust  of  Congressman  Lindbergh  for  the  Minnesota  Historical  Society. 
The  famous  flyer,  Colonel  Lindbergh,  who  resembles  his  father,  sat  as  a 
model.  Astrid  Fjelde,  the  well-known  soprano,  is  a  sister  of  Paul  Fjelde, 
as  is  also  Mrs.  Kathrine  Aune,  the  pianist. 

Emil  Lie  is  a  prominent  Norwegian  sculptor  who  found  a  refuge 
in  the  United  States  when  the  Nazis  took  possession  of  Norway.  He  is 
a  son  and  grandson  of  the  authors  Bernt  and  Jonas  Lie,  and  a  relative 
of  the  painter  Jonas  Lie,  who  died  in  New  York  in  1940.  Lie  was  get- 
ting started  on  a  large  monument  to  "Liberty  and  Democracy"  on 
Honn0rbryggen,  Oslo,  when  the  Germans  appeared.  He  took  part  in 

In  the  World  of  Art 


the  fighting,  and  afterwards  he  managed  to  come  to  New  York,  where 
he  hopes  to  start  a  new  career.5 

J.  Nilsen  Laurvig,  who  had  his  origin  in  the  Norwegian  town  of  the 
same  name,  was  for  many  years  a  highly  regarded  art  critic  in  the  East. 
He  had  been  art  critic  on  the  Boston  Transcript  and  the  New  Yor\ 
Times  when,  in  1915,  he  was  appointed  commissioner  of  arts  at  the 
World's  Fair  in  San  Francisco.  In  1916  he  became  director  of  the  muni- 
cipal art  gallery  in  that  city.  He  was  much  interested  in  Norwegian 
art.  In  1913  Laurvig  published  a  brochure:  Is  It  Art?  dealing  with  post- 
impressionism,  futurism  and  cubism.* 

One  of  the  most  popular  musicians  of  Norwegian  origin  in  Brooklyn 
is  the  violinist,  Carl  H.  Tollefsen,  who  has  followed  his  profession  for 
more  than  forty  years.  His  wife  is  the  eminent  pianist,  Augusta  Schnabel 
Tollefsen,  and  for  a  long  stretch  of  years  they  have  had  their  studio  at  974 
President  Street,  Brooklyn.  They  have  been  particular  favorites  of  the 
Norwegian  people,  and  they  have  appeared  at  countless  concerts.  The 
Tollefsen  Trio,  consisting  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Tollefsen  and  a  'cellist,  has 
toured  the  country  successfully  several  times. 

He  is  the  leader  of  the  Brooklyn  Chamber  Music  Society,  which  has 
done  much  to  foster  the  love  of  chamber  music  in  Brooklyn. 

Mr.  Tollefsen  is  the  owner  of  a  most  interesting  collection  of  auto- 
graphs: one  thousand  letters  and  manuscripts  from  the  greatest  musi- 
cians of  the  last  century.  In  his  collection  the  Norwegian  composers, 
Ole  Bull,  Grieg,  Svendsen,  and  Sinding,  are  represented. 

Another  popular  professional  musician  of  Norwegian  descent  is 
the  organist  and  pianist,  Lawrence  J.  Munson,  who  studied  music  in 
New  York  and  Paris  and  stands  high  in  his  profession.  Munson  has  for 
years  conducted  the  Munson  Institute  of  Music  at  357  Ovington  Avenue, 
Brooklyn,  which  instructs  a  large  number  of  students  in  the  various 
branches  of  music.  He  is  engaged  as  organist  by  one  of  the  large  churches 
in  Brooklyn  and  often  appears  as  soloist  at  concerts.  The  Munson  Insti- 
tute celebrated  its  twenty-fifth  anniversary  in  1940. 

The  well-known  Norwegian  music  pedagogue  Maia  Bang  Hohn 
died  in  January,  1940,  at  the  age  of  62  years.  Maia  Bang,  a  daughter  of 

-•")<lordis\  Tidende,  December  5,  1940. 

6>iordis\  Tidende,  December  30,  1915;  May  4,  1916. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Bishop  Anton  Christian  Bang,  was  born  in  Troms0  in  1877  and  ap- 
peared for  many  years  as  concert  violinist  in  various  European  countries. 
In  1919  she  came  to  New  York  with  Leopold  Auer,  the  famous  violinist. 
Maia  Bang,  who  in  1922  was  married  to  the  Swiss  Army  Captain,  Charles 
E.  Hohn,  a  silk  importer  in  New  York,  soon  felt  that  she  could  accom- 
plish more  as  a  pedagogue  than  as  a  violinist.  She  has  published  a  num- 
ber of  books:  Violin  School  for  Children;  Maia  Bang  Violin  Method; 
Maia  Bang  Violin  Course;  and  Maia  Bang  Recreation  Music,  which  have 
had  a  large  sale.  King  Haakon  of  Norway  awarded  her  the  distinguished 
service  medal  in  1924. 

Gerard  Tonning,  born  in  Stavanger,  and  educated  at  the  Munich 
Conservatory  of  Music,  died  in  New  York  in  June,  1940,  at  the  age  of 
80.  Tonning  came  to  the  United  States  as  a  young  man  and  lived  for 
many  years  in  Duluth  and  Seattle,  where  he  taught  piano.  He  came  to 
New  York  in  1917.  Tonning  had  composed  two  operas,  Leif  Eri\son 
and  Blue  Wing,  several  operettas  and  many  songs,  but  none  of  his 
work  achieved  great  popularity.7 

August  Werner  is  a  singer  who  in  many  ways  resembles  Albert 
Arveschou.  He  was  born  in  Bergen  in  1893,  but  received  his  musical 
education  in  New  York  and  became  a  very  popular  baritone.  Werner, 
who  is  married  to  the  pianist  Gertrude  Gunsten,  is  now  professor  of 
music  at  the  University  of  Washington,  Seattle.  He  is  a  Knight  of  St. 
Olav  and  has  also  the  St.  Olav  medal. 

Another  prominent  baritone,  Erik  Bye,  lived  for  a  number  of  years 
in  New  York  and  on  the  Pacific  Coast,  but  has  returned  to  his  birthplace, 

Of  other  Norwegian  singers  may  be  mentioned  Nora  Fauchald,  who 
for  some  time  traveled  as  a  soloist  with  Sousa's  Band;  Margaret  Olsen, 
engaged  as  a  church  soloist;  the  bass-baritone,  Amund  Sj0vik,  who  has 
traveled  with  an  opera  company;  Gudrun  Ekeland,  Magnhild  Fjeldheim, 
Ellen  Repp;  the  dramatic  soprano,  Erica  Darbo,  and  Agnes  F0rde. 

Two  singers  from  Norway,  Mme.  Kaia  Eide  Norena  and  Ivar 
Andresen,  have  for  a  number  of  years  been  engaged  at  the  Metropolitan 
Opera  in  New  York.  Norena,  who  was  at  one  time  married  to  the 
Norwegian  actor,  Egil  Eide,  has  a  lyric  soprano  voice  of  much  beauty 
and  was  a  great  favorite  in  Milan  and  Paris.  She  is  now  married  to  an 

■'Hew  Yor\  Times,  June  12,  1940 

In  the  World  of  Art 


American  business  man,  Harry  M.  Blackmer,  and  lives  in  France.  She 
has  retired  as  a  singer. 

Andresen  was  an  outstanding  dramatic  basso  and  sang  at  the  Met- 
ropolitan from  1930  to  1934.  He  died  in  Stockholm  in  1940,  44  years  old. 

The  dramatic  soprano,  Nancy  Ness,  from  Bergen,  came  to  New 
York  in  1940.  Ebba  Braathe  is  a  well-known  pianist;  Christian  Thaulow, 
a  son  of  the  famous  painter,  Fritz  Thaulow,  is  a  violinist  and  conductor 
of  orchestras;  Aagot  Tharaldsen,  the  pianist,  conducts  a  school  of  music, 
and  Anders  Emile  has  an  excellent  name  as  an  organist  and  director 
of  chorus  singing. 

Mme.  Kirsten  Flagstad,  who  has  been  a  worthy  successor  to  Mme. 
Olive  Fremstad  at  the  Metropolitan  Opera  House,  New  York,  was  born 
in  1895,  and  she  has  always  been  regarded  as  a  fine  singer,  though  it 
was  not  anticipated  that  some  day  she  would  become  the  most  feted 
soprano  of  her  time.  In  1933  she  was  discovered  in  Bayreuth  by  repre- 
sentatives of  the  Metropolitan  Opera  Company,  and  two  years  later,  in 
New  York  City,  she  suddenly  rose  to  world  fame.  Mme.  Flagstad 
excels  in  the  great  Wagnerian  roles  and  her  drawing  power  is  as 
strong  today  as  it  was  when  she  first  came  here.  In  the  hard  times  of  the 
depression  she  became  very  useful  economically  to  the  Opera  House. 
Besides  her  appearances  at  the  Opera  she  has  won  an  immense  public 
by  her  concerts  throughout  America. 

The  Norwegian  pianist,  Alf  Klingenberg,  was  in  August,  1919,  ap- 
pointed director  of  the  School  of  Music  which  George  Eastman  (the 
Kodak  man)  established  in  Rochester,  New  York.  He  retired  after 
four  years  of  strenuous  work.  During  Klingenberg's  directorate,  he  en- 
gaged the  famous  Norwegian  composer,  Christian  Sinding  for  a  semester 
to  teach  harmony  and  composition.  The  Finnish  composer,  Jean  Sibelius 
was  also  offered  an  engagement,  but  had  to  decline  because  of  ill  health.8 

Christian  Schi0tt  is  highly  regarded  as  a  pianist  and  teacher  of  music 
and  singing.  He  has  appeared  as  a  soloist  at  numerous  conceits  and  has 
the  distinction  of  having  played  before  President  Woodrow  Wilson  in 
the  White  House.  Schi0tt  is  also  a  sculptor  of  merit.  He  was  in  America 
on  a  visit  in  1906,  and  settled  here  permanently  in  1916. 

Arthur  Bergh,  a  Norwegian-American  violinist  from  St.  Paul,  Minn., 
was  for  some  time  conductor  of  an  orchestra  in  New  York.  He  has 

*Hordis\  Tidende,  August  21,  1919;  June  16,  1921. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

composed  "The  Congo",  a  study  in  music  of  the  Negro  race,  and  has 
also  set  Edgar  Allen  Poe's  poem  "The  Raven"  to  music. 

Stell  Andersen,  who  hails  from  Linn  Grove,  Iowa,  enjoys  a  high 
reputation  as  a  pianist,  both  in  the  United  States  and  Europe. 

Among  the  people  whose  names  were  often  to  be  found  on  enter- 
tainment programs  about  the  year  191 1  were  Otto  Clausen,  singer,  now 
in  Chicago;  Arthur  Werenskjold,  violinist,  and  Bjarne  Rolseth,  organist. 

On  a  few  occasions,  Albert  Gran,  the  actor,  appeared  before  a  Nor- 
wegian public.  He  was  born  in  Bergen  and  acted  for  years  on  the 
American  stage.  He  spent  his  last  years  in  Hollywood  as  a  film  actor.9 

James  Cagney,  the  film  star,  who  specializes  in  bandit  parts,  was 
born  in  New  York  and  had  an  Irish  father  and  a  Norwegian  mother. 

Harald  Johnswold  appeared  in  1939  in  New  York  in  the  play,  Key 

Henrik  Christian  Andersen,  who  claimed  to  be  a  relative  of  the 
famous  Danish  writer  of  fairy  tales,  was  born  in  Bergen,  Norway,  in 
1872,  and  came  with  his  parents  to  the  United  States  the  next  year.  They 
settled  at  Newport,  R.  I.  Andersen  studied  architecture,  sculpture  and 
painting  and  went  to  Rome  in  1899,  where  he  lived  for  41  years,  until 
he  died  in  1940.  Mr.  Andersen  was  an  idealist  and  became  well  known 
through  his  elaborate  plan  for  permanent  world  peace.  The  project  cen- 
tered in  the  construction  of  a  "Universal  City",  in  which  all  nations 
should  be  represented.  At  one  time  the  New  Jersey  seacoast  was  favor- 
ably considered  as  a  site  for  this  "World  Center",  but  in  later  years 
Mussolini  had  declared  himself  interested  in  the  plan  and,  according  to 
Andersen,  had  promised  a  site  near  the  mouth  of  the  Tiber.  Andersen's 
studio  near  Rome  was  filled  with  gigantic  statues  which  he  had  created 
in  the  expectation  that  some  day  they  would  grace  the  buildings  of  his 
city.  He  had  spent  $150,000  on  his  plans.10 


The  Norwegian-American  actress,  Borgny  Hammer,  who  visited 
Norway  in  1939-1940,  received  the  St.  Olav  medal  during  an  audience 
with  King  Haakon.  The  medal  was  awarded  her  for  outstanding  work 
for  Norwegian  culture  in  America  during  her  thirty  years  here. 

sXlordis\  Tidende,  October  26,  1911. 
™Hew  Yor\  Times,  December  20,  1940. 

In  the  World  of  Art 


Mrs.  Hammer  (Borgny  Berge)  had  her  debut  in  Bergen  at  the  age 
of  seventeen.  Later  she  came  to  Fahlstr0m's  Central  Theater  in  Oslo 
and  was  for  a  season  and  a  half  engaged  at  the  National  Theater.  In  the 
meantime  she  married  the  singer,  Rolf  Hammer,  who  went  to  America 
in  1905  as  soloist  with  the  student  singers.  He  decided  to  remain  in 
America,  and  in  1910  Borgny  Hammer  joined  him  with  her  five  children. 

They  stayed  for  years  in  Chicago  and  in  Seattle  and  came  to  New 
York  in  1920,  where  Rolf  Hammer  died  in  1922.  Mrs.  Hammer  has 
played  Ibsen,  both  in  Norwegian  and  English,  over  large  sections  of 
America,  and  also  Bj0rnson,  Amalie  Skram,  Vilhelm  Krag,  Peter  Egge 
and  many  others.  In  1925,  at  the  celebration  of  the  one  hundredth  an- 
niversary of  the  beginning  of  Norwegian  immigration  to  America,  she 
performed  Fjelleventyret,  with  Ole  Windingstad  as  the  musical  con- 

Mme.  Hammer  usually  called  her  group  of  players  "Det  norske 
Teater"  (The  Norwegian  Theater).  In  December,  1926,  a  new  organi- 
zation "Det  Intime  Teater"  made  its  appearance,  led  during  the  first 
years  by  Andreas  Baardsen,  the  artist  in  metals,  and  his  wife,  Hardis 
Berven,  later  by  Carl  S0yland.  When  this  organization  in  1936  cele- 
brated its  10th  anniversary,  it  had  staged  eighteen  plays,  some  of  them 
several  times.  They  were  of  a  most  varied  character,  starting  in  1926 
with  Lars  Anders  and  Jan  Anders  and  putting  on,  ten  years  later, 
Nordahl  Grieg's  Vaar  Mre  og  vaar  Ma\t.  In  this  manner,  Det  Intime 
Teater  lived  up  to  its  purpose  of  promoting  interest  in  dramatics  and 
providing  wholesome  and  educational  entertainment  for  Norwegian- 
Americans  of  Greater  New  York.  Among  the  players  may  be  mentioned 
Niels  Tjelmeland,  John  Solheim,  Ole  Hofseth,  Adolf  and  Bergliot  An- 
dersen, Edw.  Krohn,  Erling  Lande,  and  B.  C.  Bjerregaard.11 

Gunnar  Bentsen,  who  often  played  with  Mme.  Hammer,  was  re- 
garded as  a  very  competent  actor. 

Henrik  Lund  from  Bergen  was  the  first  who  appeared  publicly  in 
Brooklyn  in  Norwegian  folk  dances.  He  was  an  excellent  dancer  him- 
self and  had  a  small  group,  with  which  he  gave  exhibitions  in  the  early 
Twenties.12  When,  in  1925,  Bondeungdomslaget  took  up  folk  dancing, 
this  branch  of  old  Norwegian  culture  was  placed  on  a  much  more  defi- 
nite basis,  chiefly,  perhaps,  through  the  efforts  of  the  instructor,  Aasmund 

"Program  at  Tenth  Anniversary  Jubilee. 

202  Norwegians  in  New  York 

G0ytil.  This  group  has  appeared  on  many  prominent  occasions  and  is 
highly  regarded,  also  among  Americans.  In  1938  G0ytil  and  most  of  the 
members  of  his  group  resigned  from  Bondeungdomslaget  and  started  a 
new  organization,  "The  Norwegian  Folk  Dance  Club".  The  Bondeung- 
domslag  recruited  a  new  group.  Thus  there  are  at  the  present  time  two 
organizations  devoted  to  Norwegian  folk  dancing. 

In  the  early  Twenties,  several  noted  Norwegian  dancers  visited 
America:  Ingrid  Solfeng  (1920);  Margit  Leraas  (1920),  she  married 
the  Russian  dancer  Tarasoff;  Grethe  Ruzt-Nissen  (1924).  Evelyn  Saether, 
born  in  Brooklyn,  also  attracted  attention  as  a  dancer. 

Brigitta  Hartwig  is  a  young  Norwegian  girl  who  has  made  a  success 
in  Hollywood  under  the  stage  name  Vera  Zorina.  She  learned  the  art 
of  dancing  in  Oslo  and  Paris  and  has  toured  many  European  countries. 
She  has  a  face  and  figure  of  unusual  beauty.1'  Liljan  Espenak  is  a 
modern  concert  dancer. 

Sigrid  Gurie,  born  in  Brooklyn  of  Norwegian  parents,  has  won  con- 
siderable renown  as  an  actress  on  the  screen. 

One  of  the  first  films,  based  on  a  Norwegian  theme,  to  come  to 
America  was  Terje  Vi\en,  which  was  shown  in  New  York  in  1920. 
It  was  produced  by  a  Swedish  company  and  the  film  followed  Henrik 
Ibsen's  famous  poem  closely.14 

The  next  year  (1921)  C.  A.  Hanssen,  Oluf  Kiaer,  S.  J.  Arnesen  and 
A.  N.  Rygg  succeeded  in  securing  many  Norwegian  nature  films,  which 
were  exhibited  for  the  benefit  of  charitable  organizations.  They  were 
called  Sunlit  Norway  and  attracted  much  attention.  It  was  the  first 
time  that  people  in  America  had  had  an  opportunity  of  seeing  ski  jump- 
ing contests  in  moving  pictures.15 

In  1922  the  film  fomfru  Trojast,  based  on  Vilhelm  Krag's  popu- 
lar play  of  the  same  name,  was  brought  to  New  York  by  S.  J.  Arnesen 
and  A.  N.  Rygg,  and  proved  to  be  an  excellent  money-maker  for  various 
charitable  institutions. 

In  later  years  many  Norwegians  films,  mosdy  scenic,  have  been 
brought  to  America  and  are  always  popular  with  the  public. 

™Hordis\  Tidende,  April  30,  1925. 

13Hew  Tot\  Herald  Tribune,  October  15,  1939. 

^XordisX  Tidende,  April  22,  1920. 

l5Hordis\  Tidende,  April  7,  1921;  November  23,  1922. 

In  the  World  of  Art 


The  bark  Glenlora,  from  Oslo,  played  a  very  interesting  role  in  the 
Fall  of  1914,  while  she  was  waiting  for  cargo  in  New  York  Harbor. 
The  ship  was  included  in  a  film  depicting  a  scene  taking  place  at  sea 
outside  Sandy  Hook.16 

Since  the  radio  made  its  entrance  into  nearly  every  home  with  its 
"canned"  music  and  other  entertainment,  and  motion  picture  houses  can 
be  found  in  every  locality,  it  has  become  economically  risky  to  undertake 
to  give  concerts.  People  can  now  enjoy  music  in  their  homes  simply  by 
turning  a  button,  and  such  competition  the  singing  societies  find  difficult 
to  meet.  Nowadays  something  unusually  attractive  must  be  offered  in 
order  to  draw  a  crowd. 

The  ease  with  which  music  can  be  enjoyed  has  even  reduced  the 
number  of  people  who  learn  to  play  instruments.  The  sale  of  pianos,  for 
instance,  has  been  materially  lessened. 

'Hordisk.  Ttdende,  November  1914. 



%1#HILE  People  in  Norway  are  extensive  buyers  of  books — an  author 
»™  of  merit  can  always  feel  reasonably  certain  of  a  satisfactory  sale — 
this  is  not  the  case  among  Norwegian-Americans,  where  the  sale  of  Nor- 
wegian books  is  decidedly  limited.  One  reason  for  this  situation  may,  per- 
haps, be  that  American  literature  acts  as  a  competitor,  so  that  the  market 
is  curtailed.  Perhaps  it  also  cuts  into  the  local  sale  that  so  many  books 
are  sent  over  from  Norway  as  convenient  and  desirable  gifts.  The  fact 
remains  that  Norwegian  books  are  not  regarded  as  easily  disposed-of 

One  of  the  early  booksellers  in  Brooklyn  was  I.  T.  Iversen,  whose 
business  at  his  death  was  taken  over  by  C.  A.  Hanssen  &  Brother.  This 
firm  carried  books  as  a  sideline  for  many  years.  Johan  G.  Normann  in 
Hamilton  Avenue,  who  had  most  of  his  clientele  among  sailors,  also  sold 
many  books.  His  best  seller  was  Gjest  Baardsen,  the  story  of  a  famous 
master-thief,  who,  like  Robin  Hood,  stole  from  the  rich  and  gave  to  the 
poor.  Nordis\  Tidende  for  years  kept  a  large  stock  of  books  and  had  the 
advantage  of  being  able  to  advertise  and  review  the  new  publications  ex- 
tensively, but  has  found  little  encouragement  in  the  business  of  Norwe- 
gian literature.  Albert  Bonnier,  a  Swedish  concern,  has,  however,  built 
up  a  large  trade  dealing  in  the  literature  of  all  Scandinavian  countries. 

When  Thorvald  Solberg  retired,  in  1930,  after  46  years  of  service 
as  Register  of  Copyright  at  the  Library  of  Congress,  Washington,  D.  C, 
it  was  stated  that  during  his  long  term  in  this  office  about  4  million 
registrations  had  been  made.  On  an  average,  175,000  books  would  be 
sent  in  for  copyright  every  year.  The  Copyright  Law  went  into  effect 
in  1897,  and  Solberg  became  the  first  chief  of  the  new  Bureau.  He  was 
born  in  Manitowoc,  Wis.,  in  1852.1 

Another  well-known  librarian  is  Dr.  J.  C.  M.  Hansen.  He  was  for 

^arl  S0yland,  Hordis\  Tidende,  1930. 




many  years  attached  to  the  Library  of  Congress  and  later  became  Director 
of  the  Public  Library  in  Chicago.  Dr.  Hansen  added  greatly  to  his  repu- 
tation by  his  work,  at  the  Library  of  the  Vatican  in  Rome. 

A  New  York  attorney  by  the  name  of  Miles  Menander  Dawson  has 
translated  Alexander  L.  Kielland's  Else  and  also  Ibsen's  Brand  into  Eng- 
lish.2 Dawson  came  originally  from  Soldiers  Grove,  Wis.,  where  he  was 
a  boyhood  friend  of  J.  O.  Davidson,  at  one  time  State  Treasurer  and 
Governor  of  Wisconsin.  Dawson  learned  Norwegian  in  his  youth. 

Franklin  Petersen,  at  one  time  editor  of  Nordisf^  Tidende  and  of 
Nye  Norge,  had  a  ready  talent  as  a  poet  and  wrote  many  prologues 
for  festive  occasions.  He  has  published  a  collection  of  poems  under  the 
title  Siv  i  Strfimmen. 

Carl  J.  S0yland,  editor,  pianist  and  lecturer,  also  the  mainstay  of 
Intime  Forum — a  Norwegian  group  in  Bay  Ridge  where  almost  any- 
thing between  heaven  and  earth  is  put  up  for  discussion — has  published 
Langs  Landeveien,  an  excellent  series  of  sketches  from  his  travels  in 

Gudrun  L0chen  Drewsen  lived  in  New  York  for  many  years.  She 
was  very  active  in  the  Norwegian  Suffrage  League,  when  women's  suf- 
frage was  under  debate,  and  lectured  frequently  on  this  topic.  In  1936 
she  published  her  memoirs  from  New  York  and  Norway  under  the  title 
Man  mindes  mangt.  In  this  book  she  tells  of  many  interesting  people 
she  met  while  living  in  Brooklyn:  Fritz  Thaulow,  Jac.  Lindboe,  Gunnar 
Knudsen,  Holger  Drachmann,  Dr.  F.  G.  Gade,  Prof.  Halvdan  Koht, 
Hulda  Garborg,  Gina  Krog,  Prof.  N.  Wille,  Johanne  Margrethe  S0mme, 
Erik  Bye,  Marie  Michelet,  Betzy  Kjelsberg,  David  Knudsen,  Harald 
Stormoen,  Dr.  Fridtjof  Nansen,  Dr.  Carl  Lumholtz,  Georg  Brandes, 
Ellen  Gleditch,  Christian  Sinding,  Karin  and  Sophus  Michaelis,  Harriet 
Bosse.  Mrs.  Drewsen  now  lives  in  California.  She  has  the  Norwegian 
Medal  of  Merit  in  gold. 

Sigurd  Folkestad,  who  at  one  time  was  editor  of  Den  nors\e  Ameri- 
haner,  published  Paa  Kongeveien,  which  has  received  very  favorable  com- 
ment as  religious  poetry. 

The  well-known  author,  Martha  Ostenso,  was  born  in  Hardanger, 
Norway,  in  1900,  and  came  with  her  parents  to  America  two  years  later. 
After  a  stay  in  the  United  States,  the  family  settled  in  Winnipeg,  Canada, 

2Xordis\  Tidende,  May  22,  1913. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

where  the  father,  Sigurd  Ostenso,  did  well  in  business.  Martha  received 
a  good  education,  worked  for  a  while  as  journalist  and  teacher  and  in 
1925  took  part  in  a  competition  for  the  best  novel  written  by  a  resident 
of  America.  The  book  should  also  be  suitable  for  the  films.  It  was  a 
magazine,  a  publishing  house,  and  the  Famous  Players  Lasky  Corpora- 
tion who  invited  to  the  competition,  in  which  1500  persons  took  part. 
Martha  Ostenso  took  the  prize,  $15,000,  with  Wild  Geese.  Of  her  eight 
novels  may  be  mentioned  The  Dar\  Dawn,  The  Young  May  Moon,  and 
The  Wild  Carews,  also  Water  Under  the  Earth.  C.  }.  Hambro,  President 
of  the  Norwegian  Storting,  has  translated  two  of  her  books  under  the 
Norwegian  titles  Steinhammeren  and  Alrune.  Miss  Ostenso  now  lives  in 
New  York. 

Antonette  Tovsen,  New  York,  was  for  a  long  time  a  popular  author 
of  novels,  many  of  which  appeared  in  serial  form  in  Norwegian-American 
newspapers.  Her  story  Rebe^a  was  published  in  Ved  Arnen  (Decorah- 
P os ten.)3 

Professor  J.  O.  Hall  took  his  doctor's  degree  in  1919  at  Columbia 
University  and  stayed  for  a  number  of  years  in  New  York,  where  he 
was  a  popular  speaker.  He  published  a  book  When  I  Was  a  Boy  in 
Norway,  which  was  favorably  received.  From  New  York  Dr.  Hall 
moved  to  Washington,  where  he  was  employed  by  the  government.5 

Ferdinand  Lundberg  is  the  author  of  a  recent  best  seller,  America's 
Sixty  Families,  2.  book  which  has  aroused  a  great  deal  of  discussion. 

Professor  Knut  Gjerset's  book  on  Norwegian  Sailors  in  American 
Waters,  research  for  which  was  carried  on  in  the  East,  was  published  by 
the  Norwegian- American  Historical  Association  in  1931. 

Dr.  L.  P.  Qualben,  pastor  at  Staten  Island,  New  York,  who  has  been 
on  leave  of  absence  from  the  St.  Olaf  faculty  for  the  past  seven  years, 
has  written  a  book,  The  Lutheran  Church  in  Colonial  America.  The 
work  tells  the  story  of  the  Lutheran  Church  from  the  beginning  of  the 
settlement  of  America  up  to  the  present  and  shows  what  part  the  Luth- 
erans played  in  the  development  of  the  country.  The  first  volume  has 
been  published  by  Nelson  &  Sons  of  New  York.  The  work  will  be  com- 
pleted in  another  volume  which  is  to  be  published  in  the  near  future. 

3Franklin  Petersen,  1<lordis\  Tidende,  February  24,  1940. 
5K[ordis\  Tidende,  October  16,  1919. 



Dr.  Qualben  is  also  the  author  of  History  of  the  Christian  Church,  which 
is  a  popular  text  book  in  many  Lutheran  colleges.6 

Karsten  Roedder  was  born  in  Stavanger,  Norway,  and  he  came  to 
New  York  about  1920.  He  has  been  engaged  in  journalistic  work,  and  in 
1936  he  published  in  Norway  Knus  i\\e  en  elendig  i  porten,  a  book 
which  is  to  a  considerable  extent  an  autobiography,  dealing  with  the 
life  of  the  author  as  a  boy  in  his  home  town.  The  book,  which  is  in  the 
Norwegian  language,  was  well  received  by  the  critics.  The  title  is  taken 
from  the  Bible:  "Do  not  oppress  the  afflicted  in  the  gate." 

The  Open  Road  is  the  name  of  a  small  magazine,  which  in  1938 
had  been  published  for  thirty  years  by  Bruce  Calvert  and  his  wife,  Anna 
Gulbrandsen  Calvert.  The  magazine  was  devoted  to  the  Philosophy  of 
Joy  and  to  the  Religion  of  Right  Living,  also  to  the  open  road,  the  open 
mind,  and  the  love  of  nature — something  along  the  line  of  Thoreau.  The 
Calverts  lived  first  in  the  sand  dunes  of  Indiana,  near  Gary,  and  have 
now  for  many  years  been  living  at  Mountain  View,  New  Jersey,  where 
they  had  their  own  printing  plant  in  connection  with  their  house — the 
Pigeon-Roost-in-the- Woods.  In  earlier  years  they  traveled  about  a  good 
deal,  he  lecturing  and  she  singing.  Anna  Gulbrandsen  was  born  in  Fred- 
rikshald  and  she  came  to  Brooklyn  with  her  parents  at  the  age  of  twelve. 
Studying  singing,  she  made  a  specialty  of  the  Norwegian  folk  melodies. 
She  was  of  much  assistance  in  the  arrangement  of  the  Norwegian  par- 
ticipation in  the  Hudson-Fulton  Celebration  30  years  ago.  She  published 
a  collection  of  her  poetry,  Etchings  in  Verse,  1936.  Her  brother,  the  land- 
scape painter,  Charles  Gulbrandsen,  lives  at  Port  Washington,  Long 

G.  Selmer  Fougner,  conductor  of  the  New  Yor^  Sun's  "Along  the 
Wine  Trail"  column  and  known  affectionately  as  "The  Baron",  died  in 
April,  1 941,  57  years  old.  He  was  born  in  Chicago  in  1884.  Both  his 
parents,  Albert  C.  and  Mathilde  Selmer  Fougner,  were  immigrants  from 
Norway.  The  father  was  for  many  years  advertising  agent  on  the  news- 
paper S\andinaven.  Young  Fougner  worked  on  the  New  Yor^  Herald, 
the  New  Yor\  Press,  and  the  New  Yorf(  Sun,  and  served  also  as  chief 
London  correspondent  for  the  last  mentioned  paper.  He  was  manager  of 
the  Press  Bureau  for  the  New  York  Liberty  Loans,  and  he  was  succes- 

6St.  Olaf  College  Bulletin,  April,  1941. 
8Carl  Scyland,  Hordis\  Tidende.  1938. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

sively  in  charge  of  publicity  for  many  important  movements.  The  orig- 
inal purpose  of  his  column,  "Along  the  Wine  Trail",  was  simply  to  in- 
struct the  American  public,  then  confronting  repeal,  concerning  the  ex- 
istence of  other  drinks  than  bathtub  gin  and  synthetic  wines  and  liquors. 
When  Fougner  died,  he  had  kept  the  column  going  for  eight  years.9 

Dr.  M.  A.  Mikkelsen,  former  editor  of  The  Architectural  Record, 
New  York,  died  in  February,  1941,  75  years  old.  Mikkelsen  was  born 
in  Wisconsin  in  1865.  He  graduated  from  Luther  College  in  Decorah, 
took  his  doctor's  degree  at  Johns  Hopkins  University  and  then  studied 
for  the  ministry.  However,  after  coming  to  New  York  more  than  thirty 
years  ago  he  was  for  many  years  on  The  Sun,  and  later  joined  the  staff 
of  The  Architectural  Record,  of  which  he  became  editor.  He  had  been 
a  vice-president  of  F.  W.  Dodge  Corporation  and  a  vice-president  and 
director  of  the  Real  Estate  Directory  Company,  Inc.,  of  New  York.  He 
was  married  to  Miss  Gwendolyn  Hawthorne,  a  granddaughter  of  Na- 
thaniel Hawthorne,  the  author,  and  lived  in  Connecticut.  In  1906  he 
wrote  an  article  on  Hjalmar  Hjort  Boyesen  in  Symra. 

Another  newspaper  man  of  Norwegian  descent  is  Isaac  Anderson, 
born  in  Wisconsin  72  years  ago  and  graduated  from  Luther  College  in 
Decorah.  Anderson  came  to  New  York  some  44  years  ago  and  was  for 
a  long  time  employed  on  the  journal.  He  is  now  working  on  the  New 
Yor/^  Times  as  a  book  reviewer. 

For  a  while  in  1940,  during  the  war  between  Germany  and  England, 
Eric  Sevareid,  of  Norwegian  descent,  from  Minneapolis,  was  correspond- 
ent in  Paris  for  the  Columbia  Broadcasting  System  in  New  York. 

Arnold  Sundgaard,  author  of  Spirochete  and  Everywhere  I  Roam, 
had  in  1941  a  new  play  tried  out  in  the  Barter  Theater  in  Abingdon, 
Va.  It  is  called  Jorislund  and  deals  with  family  life  among  the  Norwe- 
gian-Americans living  in  the  Middle  West.10 

The  Truth  About  Leij  Ericson  and  the  Greenland  Voyages  to  New 
England  is  the  name  of  a  book  of  447  pages,  which  has  been  published  in 
1940  by  William  B.  Goodwin.  The  book,  so  it  is  said,  contains  full,  com- 
prehensive and  unchallenged  proof  that  Leif  Ericson  and  his  followers 
actually  discovered  Canada,  Nova  Scotia  and  New  England  941  years 
ago,  or  492  years  before  the  voyage  of  Christopher  Columbus.  It  is  a 
record  of  the  facts  of  Leif's  attempt  to  colonize  North  America. 

»Neiu  ror\  Sun,  April  2,  1941. 
10Ch:cago  Tribune,  August  17,  1941. 



TWO  Norwegian  Women,  Molla  Bjurstedt  Mallory — the  girl  from 
Norway — and  Sonja  Henie,  have  been  preeminent  in  American 
sports.  "Marvelous  Molla"  was  born  in  Oslo  and  was  trained  as  a  teacher 
of  gymnastics  and  as  a  masseuse.  In  1915  she  came  to  the  front  as  a 
brilliant  tennis  player.  She  won  the  Women's  National  Outdoor  Cham- 
pionship seven  times  and  was  for  years  regarded  as  the  best  player  in 
the  country  and  in  the  world.  In  1919  she  married  Franklin  L.  Mallory 
of  Philadelphia.  A  bust  of  her  has  been  made  by  Christian  Schi0tt. 

Sonja  Henie,  the  famous  skater  and  film  star,  came  to  New  York 
for  the  first  time  in  1930,  and  she  has  always  been  drawing  enormous 
crowds.  Her  popularity  never  seems  to  wane,  whether  she  appears  in 
person  or  on  the  screen.  One  in  a  Million  and  her  other  pictures  have 
been  great  successes.  Sonja  was  awarded  the  Norwegian  medal  for  all- 
around  sports  excellence;  she  is  also  Knight  of  the  first  class  of  the  Order 
of  St.  Olaf.  She  was  married  in  1940  to  Henry  Topping,  owner  of  the 
Brooklyn  football  club,  the  Dodgers.  She  has  published  an  autobiogra- 
phy, Wings  On  My  Feet.  Her  father,  Vilhelm  Henie,  was  in  his  younger 
days  a  champion  cyclist. 

Ralph  Guldahl,  national  open  golf  champion  in  1937  and  1938,  was 
a  carpenter  in  Texas  before  he  took  up  the  game  of  golf.  His  father,  Olaf 
G.  Guldahl,  was  born  in  Norway,  and  died  in  1940  in  Dallas,  Texas, 
62  years  old. 

In  the  Twenties,  Earl  Sande  was  the  leading  jockey  in  America.  His 
parents  were  Norwegians,  and  he  was  born  near  American  Falls,  Idaho, 
where  he  became  an  excellent  rider  at  an  early  age.  He  has  spent  consid- 
rable  time  about  New  York. 

It  is  not  often  that  the  Norwegians  are  found  on  the  performing 
staffs  of  circuses,  but  in  1924  Oscar  Andersen,  from  Oslo,  was  one  of  the 
most  popular  performers  with  Ringling  Brothers  Circus.  Thomas  H0gh, 



Norwegians  in  New  York 

also  from  Oslo,  was  Andersen's  partner,  and  they  did  some  breath- 
taking stunts  on  the  top  of  a  fifteen  meter  long  pole.1 

Oluf  Mikkelson  is  the  distributor  in  New  York  of  the  Evinrude  and 
Elto  motors,  which  are  used  extensively  in  motor  boats  throughout  the 
world.  Evinrude,  the  inventor,  was  born  at  Eidsvold  and  started  his 
business  in  Milwaukee,  Wis.  He  died  in  1934. 

Bernt  Balchen,  the  famous  Norwegian  flyer,  was  born  in  Kristian- 
sand  in  1899  and  received  his  training  at  the  flying  school  of  the  Nor- 
wegian Navy.  He  accompanied  Roald  Amundsen  to  Svalbard,  where  he 
met  Byrd  and  came  with  him  to  America.  He  flew  with  Byrd  across  the 
Atlantic  in  1927 — New  York  to  France — and  he  was  with  Byrd  on  the 
South  Pole  Expedition,  1928-30.  Balchen  also  was  with  Lincoln  Ells- 
worth on  the  Transatlantic  Expedition  in  1933.  He  became  an  American 
citizen  in  1931 .  In  1941  Balchen  was  reported  to  be  flying  patrol  bomb- 
ers from  Bermuda  to  England.2 

While  the  noble  ski  sport  had  its  enthusiastic  devotees  in  the 
Northwest  as  far  back  as  the  Eighties  and  Nineties,  very  little  had  been 
done  in  the  Eastern  States  to  encourage  this  sport  until  about  1921.  It 
was  then  that  Axel  Arnessen,  a  Norwegian  business  man  of  New  York, 
wrote  an  article  in  NordisJ{  Tidende,  recommending  the  Adirondacks 
and  the  country  surrounding  Lake  Placid  as  affording  fine  opportunities 
for  the  enjoyment  of  this  sport.  Mr.  Arnessen  was  also  of  the  opinion 
that  the  Norwegians  should  take  the  lead  in  popularizing  skiing  and  was 
supported  by  A.  G.  Howard  and  other  writers.  This  agitation  led  to  the 
organization  of  the  Norsemen  Ski  Club,  December,  1921.  0rnulf  Paul- 
sen was  elected  president;  Axel  Arnessen,  1st  vice-president;  A.  G.  How- 
ard, 2nd  vice-president;  S.  J.  Arnesen,  secretary;  Olaf  Hertzwig,  treasurer. 

The  new  Club  was  received  with  enthusiasm  both  by  Norwegians 
and  Americans  and  soon  acquired  a  large  membership.  For  a  number  of 
years  it  did  not  own  a  hill,  but  nevertheless  did  excellent  work  by  sending 
first  class  skiers  to  the  various  tournaments,  and  in  this  way  popular 
interest  was  stimulated.  Among  the  skiers  who  rendered  valiant  service 
in  the  early  days  were  Ole  Jansen,  Staten  Island,  and  Rolf  Monsen,  a 
three-time  captain  of  the  United  States  Olympic  Ski  Team.  In  1940 
Monsen  was  engaged  in  teaching  skiing  to  United  States  soldiers  at 

^Xordis\  Tidende,  May  8,  1924. 
2Hvem  er  Hvem,  1938,  p.  47. 

Skiing  and  Other  Sports 


Niagara  Falls.  The  same  year  the  U.  S.  Army  ordered  6000  pairs  of  skis 
from  a  firm  in  Duluth,  Minn. 

In  1925  0rnulf  Paulsen,  then  employed  at  Lake  Placid  as  director  of 
skiing,  had  a  300  page  book  with  illustrations  published  by  Macmillan. 
The  title  of  the  book  is:  Skjmg,  With  a  Chapter  on  Snowshoeing. 

The  Norsemen  Ski  Club,  which  is  entitled  to  considerable  credit  for 
the  great  popularity  of  the  ski  sport  in  the  Eastern  States,  now  owns  a 
fine  hill — Norsemen  Hill — at  Salisbury  Mills,  Orange  County,  New 
York,  where  annual  competitions  take  place.  In  1941  the  Club  celebrated 
its  twentieth  anniversary. 

Norway  Ski  Club  was  started  in  1927  and  has  also  been  active  in 
furthering  the  interests  of  this  sport.  Among  the  organizers  may  be  men- 
tioned Martin  Jansen,  Tarald  and  Chris  H0idalen,  John  Andersen,  Fritz 
Andersen,  and  Arnold  Berge.  At  first  the  Club  used  a  hill  in  White 
Plains,  but  lately  this  ski  club  has  had  its  tournaments  at  Bear  Mountain. 

The  Nansen  Ski  Club  in  Berlin,  New  Hampshire,  has  a  long  and 
fine  record  to  look  back  upon.  The  Telemark  Ski  Club,  organized  in 
1936,  is  operating  in  Rosendale,  New  York,  and  the  Staten  Island  Ski 
Club  is  also  displaying  much  youthful  vigor.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  Ameri- 
can Ski  Clubs  have  sprung  up  all  over  the  East,  and  this  old  Norwegian 
sport  has  definitely  entered  American  life.  In  winter,  when  the  weather 
is  favorable,  the  railroads  run  special  trains  for  the  "snow  birds"  to  and 
from  the  favorite  ski  terrains  north  of  New  York  City.  While  so  far 
the  Norwegians  have  had  a  comparatively  easy  time  in  winning  the  prizes 
at  the  various  ski  tournaments,  Americans  are  gradually  mastering  the 
finer  points  in  the  sport  and  will  before  long  be  strong  competitors.3  The 
ski  sport  has  now  decidedly  become  a  national  pastime  in  America. 

Dan  Nupen  from  Trondheim,  assisted  by  Arild  V.  Myller,  maintains 
a  ski  school  at  Brandon,  Vermont.4 

In  1 92 1  L.  Jensen,  of  Brooklyn,  won  the  championship  in  diving 
at  Madison  Square  Garden. 

Wherever  football  is  played,  Knut  Rockne  is  the  greatest  name  as- 
sociated with  the  game.  Rockne  was  the  son  of  a  Norwegian  immigrant 
from  Voss  and  was  born  in  Chicago,  but  he  has  become  a  legend  as  coach 

3Martin  Solberg  in  "H.ord\s\  Tidende. 
*J<[ordmanns-Forbundet,  February,  1941. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

for  the  football  teams  of  Notre  Dame  University,  South  Bend,  Indiana. 
He  died  in  1931  as  the  result  of  an  airplane  accident.  His  biography 
has  been  written  by  Harry  A.  Stuhldreher. 

Many  of  his  important  games  were  played  in  New  York  and  vicinity, 
where  he  had  many  admirers. 




EARLY  in  1925,  Rev.  C.  O.  Pedersen,  Rector  of  the  Norwegian  Hospi- 
tal, succeeded  in  interesting  Charles  W.  Dunn,  then  Alderman  in  the 
Bay  Ridge  district,  in  a  plan  to  name  the  large,  open  ground  between 
Fourth  Avenue  and  Fort  Hamilton  Parkway  and  between  66th  and  67th 
Streets,  Leiv  Eiriksson  Square.  Dunn,  who  knew  the  importance  of  the 
Norwegians  as  a  voting  element  in  Bay  Ridge,  pushed  the  matter  with 
great  vigor  and  the  necessary  ordinance  was  quickly  passed  by  the  Board 
of  Aldermen  and  thereafter  signed  by  the  Mayor,  John  F.  Hylan. 

It  goes  without  saying  that  this  action  by  the  City  Administration 
met  with  great  favor  among  the  Norwegians,  and  it  was  decided  to  make 
the  official  dedication  of  the  Square  a  great  public  event  with  a  parade 
and  speeches  and  other  festivities.  The  following  committee  was  con- 
stituted: Rev.  C.  O.  Pedersen,  chairman;  Rodney  T.  Martinsen,  secretary; 
Major  S.  J.  Arnesen,  treasurer;  Hon.  Charles  W.  Dunn,  Peter  Berge, 
Rev.  Helmer  Halvorsen,  Helene  Olausen,  A.  N.  Rygg,  Rev.  S.  O.  Sig- 
mond,  Rev.  L.  J.  Heggem,  Rev.  O.  M.  Jonswold,  O.  C.  Christopher, 
Fred  Werner,  Rev.  L.  Stalsbroten,  Rev.  J.  M.  Beckstrom,  Ragna  Henrik- 
«en,  and  Jacob  Eriksen. 

The  affair  took  place  Saturday  afternoon,  May  23,  1925.  Major 
Arnesen  acted  as  marshal  of  the  parade  which  formed  in  the  streets 
near  the  Norwegian  Hospital.  The  parade  looked  very  picturesque  with 
its  numerous  organization  banners,  as  it  stretched  out  on  the  march  to 
Leiv  Eiriksson  Square.  It  was  estimated  that  there  were  5,000  people  in 
line.  At  the  Square,  where  about  10,000  people  had  gathered  around 
the  platform,  Rev.  C.  O.  Pedersen  acted  as  master  of  ceremonies  and 
speeches  were  made  by  Mayor  John  F.  Hylan,  Consul  General  Hans  Fay, 
and  A.  N.  Rygg.1 

iXordis\  Tidende,  April  9,  April  23,  May  28,  1925. 



Norwegians  in  New  York 

Quite  an  effective  blow  bad  been  struck  for  the  recognition  of  Leiv 
Eiriksson  as  the  discoverer  of  America,  but  it  was  felt  that  the  good 
work  should  be  kept  up,  and  so  Rev.  C.  O.  Pedersen  took  the  initiative 
again  and  had  the  Leiv  Eiriksson  Memorial  Association  incorporated. 
The  purpose  of  the  Association  was  this:  "To  assist  in  beautifying  Leiv 
Eiriksson  Square  and  to  erect  a  suitable  monument  thereon,  to  commem- 
orate the  landing  of  Leiv  Eiriksson  on  American  soil  in  the  year  iooo, 
and  to  develop  a  more  complete  conception  of  the  value  of  the  achieve- 
ments of  Leiv  Eiriksson  as  an  explorer  and  its  effect  on  World  history 
and  progress." 

The  Association  held  a  successful  Leiv  Eiriksson  festival  at  the 
Brooklyn  Academy  of  Music  on  Sunday,  October  9,  1927,  and  the  ad- 
dress delivered  by  Dr.  A.  N.  Rygg  on  this  occasion  was  spread  in  thous- 
ands of  copies  in  the  Public  Schools  of  the  city.  Dr.  Rygg  closed  his 
address  with  the  following  statement: 

"In  Leiv  Eiriksson  Square  in  Brooklyn,  we  ought  to  have  a  statue 
in  heroic  size  of  the  bold  and  intrepid  Norwegian  sailor.  He  should 
stand  in  the  prow  of  his  ship  pointing  out  over  New  York  Bay  where 
every  year  thousands  upon  thousands  of  his  seafaring  countrymen  pass 
in  and  out  of  the  harbor.  It  should  be  a  Memorial  not  only  to  Leiv,  but 
also  to  that  great  host  of  Norwegian  men  and  women  who  have  labored 
as  good  honest  American  citizens  in  this  great  city." 

The  Association  also  arranged  a  festival  in  the  Auditorium  of  the 
Bay  Ridge  High  School  in  honor  of  the  noted  flier,  Ben  Eielson,  who 
was  awarded  a  medal  in  gold  by  the  Association  for  his  achievements  in 
flying  in  the  Arctic  regions.  As  will  be  remembered,  Eielson  fell  down 
and  was  killed  a  few  years  later  in  Alaska. 

Until  November  21,  1927,  Rev.  C.  O.  Pedersen  served  as  chairman 
of  the  Association.  He  then  resigned,  and  Major  S.  J.  Arnesen  was  elect- 
ed to  take  his  place.  No  further  activities  by  the  Association  are  recorded 
and  during  the  great  depression,  when  hundreds  and  thousands  of  our 
people  were  suffering  from  actual  want,  it  would  have  been  hopeless  to 
attempt  collecting  money  for  a  statue.  However,  the  Square  was  gradu- 
ally improved  by  the  city  authorities  and  made  very  attractive.  In  1939 
five  gentlemen,  Axel  I.  Pedersen,  Oscar  Halvorsen,  Knut  Vang,  Herman 
Svensen  and  August  Werner  financed  the  cost  of  a  boulder — a  small 
bauta  —  with  a  bronze  tablet  in  honor  of  Leiv  Eiriksson.   This  was 

Miscellaneous  Items 


erected  at  the  northern  end  of  the  Square.  This  bauta  was  dedicated  by 
Crown  Prince  Olav  on  July  6,  1939  (the  day  he  left  New  York  to  go 
back  to  Norway  after  his  triumphant  visit  to  this  country),  in  the  pres- 
ence of  Crown  Princess  Martha,  Minister  W.  Morgenstierne,  Consul 
General  Rolf  Christensen,  Mayor  La  Guardia  and  an  audience  of  many 
thousand  people.  This  bauta  will  serve  until  the  Norwegian  people  feel 
strong  enough  to  erect  a  monument  that  shall  be  fully  in  accord  with 
their  desires. 

It  seems  that  in  the  long  run  more  and  more  glory  will  be  heaped 
upon  the  Norwegian  discoverer  of  America.  At  a  dinner  held  in  Febru- 
ary, 1940,  on  the  occasion  of  the  fiftieth  anniversary  of  the  organization 
of  the  society  Court  Leiv  Eiriksson,  it  was  proposed  that  the  city  authori- 
ties should  be  approached  with  reference  to  changing  the  name  of  Shore 
Road  to  Leiv  Eiriksson  Drive. 

The  Thorfinn  Karlsefni  statue  in  Fairmount  Park,  Philadelphia,  is 
the  work  of  the  Icelandic  sculptor,  Einar  Jonsson,  who  was  entrusted 
with  the  task  in  1917.  The  money  required  was  provided  by  the  estate  of 
a  rich  Philadelphia  lady,  Mrs.  J.  Bunford  Samuel,  who  in  her  will  had  set 
aside  $500,000,  which  was  to  be  used  for  the  erection  of  a  number  of 
statues  of  prominent  Americans  in  Fairmount  Park.  Karlsefni  became 
number  one,  as  the  first  real  colonist  on  American  soil.  The  unveiling 
took  place  in  November,  1920.2  The  ambitious  project  never  went  be- 
yond this  statue. 

At  the  jubilee  exposition  in  Oslo  in  1914,  when  Norway  celebrated 
the  one  hundredth  anniversary  of  her  Constitution,  a  stone  was  exhibited 
which  had  been  found  at  Yarmouth,  Nova  Scotia,  and  which,  as  a  mat- 
ter of  convenience,  was  called  the  Yarmouth  Stone.  For  a  while  this  stone 
played  about  the  same  role  as  the  Kensington  Stone,  which  was  found  in 
Minnesota,  but  it  was  subjected  to  such  unmerciful  criticism  by  runic 
experts  in  Norway,  that  nothing  more  was  heard  about  the  Yarmouth 
Stone.  Professor  Magnus  Olsen  at  the  University  of  Oslo  declared  flatly 
that  it  was  no  rune  stone  at  all  and  that  the  supposed  runes  were  nothing 
but  some  incomprehensible  signs.  The  stone  was  assumed  to  have  been 
made  by  Harku,  one  of  Thorfinn  Karlsefni's  men.3 

There  are  statues  of  Leiv  Eiriksson  in  Boston,  Milwaukee  and  Chi- 

2Hordis\  Tiderude,  May  20,  1915;  November  22,  1917. 
37^ordis\  Tidende,  January  14,  191?. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

cago,  besides  the  bauta  in  Leiv  Eiriksson  Square,  Brooklyn.  In  Chicago, 
there  is  a  Leiv  Eiriksson  Drive. 

A  monument,  a  large  boulder  with  inscription  on  a  bronze  plaque, 
in  memory  of  Leiv  Eiriksson,  was  erected  in  New  Rochelle,  New  York, 
in  1930.  The  speeches  at  the  unveiling  ceremonies  were  delivered  by 
Minister  W.  Morgenstierne,  then  Consul  General  at  New  York,  and 
Major  Otto,  who  accepted  the  monument  on  behalf  of  the  town.  Lodge 
Midnatsolen,  Sons  of  Norway,  was  the  instigator  of  this  undertaking.4 

In  the  Summer  of  1941  Olaf  Strandvold,  from  Prosser,  Washington, 
a  teacher  of  history  and  a  student  of  runology,  came  East  to  New  Eng- 
land to  inspect  some  of  the  rune  stones  which  are  to  be  found  in  this 
section  of  the  country.  Mr.  Strandvold  studied  the  old  inscriptions  in 
Bath,  Me.,  Hampton,  N.  H.,  and  on  the  Bourne  rune  stone  at  the  Cape 
Cod  Canal.  He  is  of  the  opinion  that  these  stones  are  authentic  and  will 
help  to  prove  that  Leiv  Eiriksson  is  the  discoverer  of  America. 

While  the  discovery  of  the  American  Continent  by  the  Northmen 
about  the  year  1000  is  a  long  established  historical  fact,  theories  differ 
as  to  where  they  first  landed.  Where  did  Leiv  Eiriksson  and  Thorfinn 
Karlsefni  first  come  in  contact  with  the  American  Indian?  Was  it  on 
the  shores  of  the  Bay  of  St.  Lawrence,  on  the  coast  of  Massachusetts  (the 
Charles  River,  Cape  Cod  or  Martha's  Vineyard),  or  was  it  farther  South, 
in  Virginia  perhaps,  where  as  is  said  in  the  sagas,  the  cattle  could  be  out 
all  winter?  There  is  still  much  research  to  be  done,  before  the  depend- 
able facts  are  disclosed. 

In  1928  the  author  of  this  volume  received  a  letter  from  Niels  Thor- 
bj0rnsen,  a  dealer  in  equipment  for  ships  at  Fredrikstad,  Norway,  who 
stated  that  in  1886  he  was  in  America  and  had  been  a  seaman  on  board 
a  small  schooner,  Martha,  Captain  Ireland.  The  home  port  of  the  schoon- 
er was  Beaufort,  North  Carolina,  near  Cape  Hatteras.  On  one  occasion 
Captain  Ireland,  who  was  a  reliable  man,  told  Thorbj0rnsen  that  on  his 
farm  in  the  neighborhood  of  Beaufort  there  were  a  number  of  flat  rune- 
stones,  on  which  the  Norwegian  discoverers  had  cut  their  names.  Thor- 
bj0rnsen  was  not  interested  in  the  matter  at  the  time,  but  later  he  felt 
that  some  investigation  should  be  made.  It  was  his  theory  that  the  Vik- 
ings had  gone  ashore  at  Cape  Henry  or  at  Hampton  Roads.  This  would 

4Information  from  Carl  Refsland. 

Miscellaneous  Items 


agree  with  the  conclusions  of  M.  M.  Mjelde,  a  Norwegian  army  captain 
and  journalist,  who  claimed  that  Leiv  Eiriksson's  Vinland  was  in 

However,  when  W.  G.  Mebane,  editor  of  the  Beaufort  News,  was 
appealed  to  for  further  information,  he  threw  cold  water  on  the  theory 
of  the  Norwegians'  visit  to  Beaufort.  He  had,  he  said,  lived  in  that 
locality  all  his  life  and  never  heard  of  the  stones  in  question.  Inquiries 
made  by  him  in  the  neighborhood  had  had  no  results.  "If  there  ever  were 
any  such  stones  about  here,"  said  Mr.  Mebane,  "they  must  have  been  im- 
ported, because  there  is  no  natural  stone  in  this  part  of  North  Carolina." 

And  there  the  matter  rests. 

A  bauta,  with  a  suitable  inscription,  in  honor  of  Roald  Amundsen, 
is  to  be  found  at  Oakwood  Heights  on  Staten  Island.  The  bauta  was 
dedicated  in  1932,  and  Borough  President  Lynch  was  one  of  the  speak- 
ers. The  Norsemen  Glee  Club  of  Staten  Island  and  the  Norwegian  Sing- 
ing Society  of  Brooklyn  were  in  charge.  Roald  Amundsen,  the  conquer- 
or of  both  Poles  and  the  first  to  negotiate  the  Northwest  Passage  (1903- 
1906)  was  a  familiar  figure  in  New  York.5 

In  1924,  when  Roald  Amundsen  was  in  desperate  straits  for  money 
with  which  to  continue  his  explorations — he  wanted  to  fly  to  the  North 
Pole  the  next  year — he  found  a  good  friend  and  supporter  in  Lincoln 
Ellsworth,  a  member  of  a  rich  New  York  family.  Ellsworth  prevailed 
upon  his  father  to  donate  $100,000  to  the  furtherance  of  Amundsen's 
plans,  and  this  endeared  him  to  the  Norwegian  people.  In  late  years, 
Ellsworth  has  undertaken  several  expeditions  to  the  Antarctic.  A  Pull- 
man sleeper  has  been  named  Roald  Amundsen  in  honor  of  this  great 

Early  in  1925,  the  idea  was  advanced  that  the  Norwegian  sculptor, 
Gustav  Laerum,  should  be  commissioned  to  make  a  monument  to  com- 
memorate the  beginning  of  modern  Norwegian  immigration  to  America. 
The  monument  was  to  be  placed  at  the  Battery,  New  York.  The  idea 
did  not  get  beyond  a  few  newspaper  notices.6 

information  from  P.  Seyfarth. 
e"Hordis\  Tidende,  January  22,  1925. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 


In  the  Fall  of  1912,  a  group  of  Scandinavians  —  Professor  Carl 
Lorentzen,  Dr.  Johannes  Hoving,  Attorney  Herman  N.  Hansen,  Frode 
Rambusch,  John  Hartell,  Axel  S.  Hedman,  Gilbert  Johansen,  A.  F.  Myhr, 
and  Christian  Guldberg  —  decided  to  establish  the  Scandinavian-Ameri- 
can Technical  School.  The  purpose  was  to  offer  theoretical  instruction  in 
technical  matters  to  carpenters,  builders,  machinists,  and  other  mechan- 
ics, and  thereby  enable  them  to  make  progress  in  their  work. 

The  classes  met  mostly  in  the  evenings,  the  tuition  fees  were  reason- 
able, and  everything  was  done  to  encourage  attendance.  But  after  two 
years  of  endeavor,  the  school  had  to  be  given  up  for  lack  of  students.7 

Andrew  F.  Myhr  was  president  of  the  school.  He  emigrated  as  a 
child  from  Horten.  This  was  in  1874.  In  1904  he  established  himself 
as  a  druggist  in  Brooklyn,  and  was  much  interested  in  Norwegian- 
American  affairs. 

Earlier  in  1912  the  engineer,  G.  M.  Dahl,  made  a  similar  unsuccess- 
ful attempts  at  starting  a  school  for  machinists.8 

There  are  two  reasons  why  such  private  schools  find  it  difficult  to 
carry  on.  One  reason  is  that  there  already  exist  in  New  York  City  a 
large  number  of  free  schools,  where  persons  may  study  almost  anything 
they  are  interested  in.  Secondly,  it  is  hard  to  prevail  upon  people  who 
work  all  day  and  come  home  tired  at  night,  to  keep  up  a  regular  course 
of  studies. 

Some  classes  at  the  Scandinavian-American  Technical  School  were 
successful,  however.  They  were  conducted  by  Ingvald  Tonning,  who 
gave  solid  instruction  to  Norwegian  marine  engineers,  enabling  them 
to  obtain  their  American  license.  When  the  school  ceased  to  exist,  Ton- 
ning kept  his  classes  going  until  he  died  some  years  later.9 

He  was  born  in  Stavanger  and  went  to  school  in  Bergen.  He  came 
to  New  York  in  1902.  He  was  an  instructor  on  board  the  Training  Ship 
of  the  State  of  New  York  and  also  in  the  evening  schools  of  the  City. 

In  the  Bronx  Architect  Anton  Horntvedt  started  a  school  for  car- 
penters and  cabinet  makers  in  191 6.  He  maintained  this  school  for  some 
time.  It  was  his  idea  to  train  people  to  become  more  useful  and  efficient.10 

^Hordisk  Tidende,  March  20,  1913. 

sXordis\  Tidende,  September  19,  1912. 

sHordis\  Tidende,  October  22,  1941. 

™Hordis\  Tidende,  January  13,  1916;  April  22,  1922. 

Miscellaneous  Items 


In  1928  the  Norwegian  Engineers'  Society  endeavored  to  establish 
a  technical  evening  school  for  machinists  and  builders,  but  this  attempt 
also  had  to  be  abandoned  soon,  for  lack  of  interested  students. 

Nearly  twenty  years  ago  graduates  from  St.  Olaf  College  in  North- 
field,  Minn.,  formed  a  St.  Olaf  Club  in  New  York.  There  are  always 
quite  a  number  of  such  graduates  in  the  city.  Some  hold  positions  here, 
others  are  doing  post-graduate  work,  and  the  Club  as  a  rule  has  good 
attendance  at  its  meetings. 

Because  of  the  great  distance  from  New  York  comparatively  few 
students  from  the  Atlantic  seaboard  have  attended  St.  Olaf  College.  In 
recent  years,  however,  the  attendance  from  New  York  has  shown  an 
increase.  The  president  of  the  college  is  Dr.  Lars  W.  Boe. 

The  St.  Olaf  Choir  came  to  New  York  for  the  first  time  in  April, 
1920,  when  it  gave  a  concert  in  Carnegie  Hall.  The  choir  and  its  con- 
ductor, Dr.  Melius  Christiansen,  made  a  decided  impression  on  the 
Eastern  critics,  who  had  not  expected  such  beautiful  singing  from  a  col- 
lege out  in  the  "cornfields".  Since  then  the  Choir  has  maintained  a  repu- 
tation second  to  none  in  the  country. 

The  question  is  often  asked:  How  is  it  that  the  Norwegians  in  the 
East,  who  have  been  so  enterprising  in  many  other  respects,  have  not 
managed  to  establish  a  higher  school  and  college  for  their  young  people? 
The  answer  is  near  at  hand.  There  have  always  been  some  definite  rea- 
sons against  such  an  undertaking.  In  the  first  place,  the  120,000  Nor- 
wegians living  along  the  Atlantic  Coast  would  not  be  able  to  support  a 
recognized  college.  Secondly,  if  such  a  college  were  started  and  proved 
unable  to  maintain  a  high  scholastic  standing,  Norwegian  students  here 
would  prefer  to  go  to  one  of  the  numerous  high  grade  American  institu- 
tions, instead  of  to  such  a  second-rate  college,  which  would  give  them 
no  academic  standing  afterwards.  Those  who  for  various  reasons  prefer 
to  attend  an  institution  run  by  Norwegians,  had  better  go  West  to 
St.  Olaf  College,  or  Luther  College,  both  of  which  are  recognized  and 
of  high  scholastic  standing. 


About  twenty  years  ago,  Arnulf  Olsen  was  an  expert  radiographer 
on  board  the  steamers  of  the  Norwegian  America  Line.  He  established 
a  radio  station  of  his  own  in  Brooklyn.  This  enabled  him  to  secure  the 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

radiograms  sent  out  daily  by  the  Norwegian  Government  to  ships  on  the 
high  seas  and  to  interested  stations  abroad.  Mr.  Olsen  has  supplied  these 
radiograms  to  Norwegian-American  newspapers  as  a  regular  service,  and 
the  latest  news  from  Norway  is  always  available. 

In  1919,  after  the  World  War,  when  business  was  flourishing,  the 
possibility  of  establishing  a  Norway  House  in  New  York  was  discussed 
very  seriously.  The  idea  was  to  gather  as  far  as  possible  all  important 
Norwegian  business  offices,  including  the  Consulate  General,  the  Travel 
Bureau,  the  Norwegian  America  Line,  the  Norwegian-American  Cham- 
ber of  Commerce,  etc.,  under  one  roof.  It  was  thought  that  such  an  ar- 
rangement would  constitute  a  great  advertisement  for  Norway  and  be 
convenient  for  the  public.  The  Norwegian-American  Chamber  of  Com- 
merce had  the  matter  investigated  by  real  estate  men  and  found  that  the 
project  would  involve  one  and  one  half  million  dollars.  However,  hard 
times  set  in,  and  the  special  committee  which  had  been  elected  to  further 
the  matter,  with  Christoffer  Hannevig  as  chairman,  thought  it  best  to 
take  no  definite  action  for  the  time  being.  The  plan  has  not  been  men- 
tioned since.11 

In  the  Spring  of  1921,  the  foreign  groups  in  New  York  were  called 
on  to  take  part  in  an  exhibition  called  "America's  Making",  intended 
to  show  what  the  various  immigrant  groups  had  contributed  to  the  build- 
ing up  of  America.  A  committee,  with  Oluf  Kiaer  as  chairman,  Thor- 
mod  Jullum  as  secretary,  and  A.  N.  Rygg  as  treasurer,  went  to  work 
with  vim  and  vigor,  deciding  to  make  the  Norwegian  participation  as 
creditable  as  possible  —  and  succeeded !  The  necessary  money  was  col- 
lected, so  that  the  committee  was  able  to  make  a  good  showing.  The 
exhibition  was  held  at  the  71st  Regiment  Armory,  Fourth  Avenue  and 
34th  Street,  New  York,  and  the  Norwegian  committee  exhibited  large 
pictures  of  Nansen  and  Amundsen  and  of  Leiv  Eiriksson  nearing 
the  American  coast.  There  were  also  models  of  Norwegian  farms  from 
pioneering  days  and  from  modern  times  and  illustrations  of  what  the 
Norwegians  have  contributed  to  America  in  shipping,  engineering,  the 
lumber  industry,  the  church  and  the  school,  etc.  In  addition  to  the  ex- 
hibits, the  committee  published  an  elaborate  book,  edited  by  H.  Sundby- 
Hansen,  which  contained  articles  written  by  various  authors  on  the  ac- 
tivities of  the  Norwegians  in  America.12 

^Hordisk  Tidende,  June  26.  December  18,  1919. 
^ordisk  Tidende,  April  28,  1921. 

Miscellaneous  Items 


In  1924  a  group  of  Norwegian-Americans,  born  in  Stavanger,  Nor- 
way, decided  to  undertake  a  subscription  of  funds  for  a  gift  to  the  old 
cathedral  in  that  city.  The  building  of  this  cathedral  was  originally  start- 
ed in  1 124,  and  the  edifice  was  regarded  as  the  finest  in  Norway  next  after 
the  cathedral  of  Trondheim.  A  restoration  of  the  structure  along  certain 
architectural  lines  was  contemplated,  and  it  was  to  help  defray  the  ex- 
penses in  connection  therewith  that  this  subscription  was  undertaken. 
The  local  committee  consisted  of  Rev.  C.  O.  Pedersen,  chairman;  Sigurd 
Tharaldsen,  vice-chairman;  S.  J.  Arnesen,  secretary;  Sverre  Siqueland, 
treasurer;  A.  N.  Rygg,  A.  Ueland,  Nikolai  Abel,  George  Helliesen,  Ed- 
ward Choland,  Mrs.  Sara  Berntsen,  Mrs.  Anna  Hansen,  Miss  Hj0rdis 
Ingebretsen,  B0rge  Westergaard,  Severin  Larsen  and  Martin  Luther. 
Cooperation  was  established  with  a  similar  committee  in  Chicago  at 
a  meeting  held  in  that  city.  A.  N.  Rygg,  of  New  York,  was  elected 
general  chairman  and  Birger  Osland,  a  banker  in  Chicago,  general 
treasurer.  The  combined  committees  worked  energetically  and  succeeded 
in  raising  $10,000  or  about  kr.  50,000,  which  amount  was  handed  to  the 
authorities  in  Stavanger,  when  Mr.  Rygg  visited  his  native  city  in  1926. 

About  the  same  time,  Frederic  Schaefer,  a  Stavanger  man  in  Pitts- 
burgh, Pa.,  contributed  kr.  100,000  to  be  used  for  the  same  general 

In  1929  Dr.  Fridtjof  Nansen  paid  his  last  visit  to  New  York.  His 
chief  mission  was  to  confer  with  Armenians  in  the  United  States  con- 
cerning the  sad  plight  of  their  countrymen  in  Asia  Minor.  Nansen  de- 
livered the  Seventeenth  of  May  oration  at  the  festival  of  the  Norwegian 
National  League  at  the  Naval  Armory  in  Brooklyn,  and  he  also  spoke 
at  the  annual  dinner  of  the  Norwegian  Hospital. 

John  F.  B0hm  was  an  ex-sailor  from  Larvik,  who  lived  in  Brooklyn 
to  a  ripe  old  age.  He  went  to  sea  in  1855  at  the  age  of  13,  and  he  sailed 
for  years  in  the  Norwegian  Merchant  Marine.  He  also  saw  service  in 
the  Norwegian  Navy  and  one  of  the  high  points  in  his  career  as  a  seaman 
came  when  he  was  selected  as  a  member  of  the  crew  of  the  corvette 
Ellida.  This  warship  had  on  board  Prince  Oscar  (later  King  Oscar  II) 
and  went  on  a  good-will  cruise  to  New  York.  Its  mission  was  also  to 
investigate  conditions  in  shipping  on  this  side  of  the  Atlantic,  where 
Norwegian  interests  were  increasing  rapidly.  In  later  life  B0hm  became 
a  diligent  Bible  student,  and  he  utilized  his  knowledge  of  navigation  in 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

his  Bible  study  and  would  often  come  to  original  and  startling  conclu- 

Another  visit  by  a  Norwegian  Man-of-War  took  place  in  1907,  when 
the  armored  cruiser  Harald  Haarjagrc  entered  the  port  of  New  York 
while  on  a  good-will  cruise.  It  is  needless  to  say  that  the  warship  was 
received  with  great  enthusiasm  both  by  Americans  and  Norwegians,  and 
the  officers  and  the  crew  were  feted  at  many  festivities.  There  was  a  din- 
ner at  the  Norwegian  Club  and  there  was  a  public  reception  at  Prospect 

In  order  to  encourage  the  tourist  traffic  to  Norway,  which  was  then 
by  no  means  as  large  as  it  ought  to  be,  the  Norwegian  Railways,  the 
Norwegian  America  Line,  the  hotel  interests,  etc.,  established  in  191 6 
the  Norwegian  Travel  Bureau  in  New  York.  Ben  Blessum,  who  was 
equally  well  acquainted  on  both  sides  of  the  ocean,  was  appointed  mana- 
ger of  the  bureau,  and  for  twenty  years  he  made  effective  propaganda  for 
Norway  and  her  beautiful  scenery.  There  is  no  question  but  that  the 
Bureau  has  had  an  excellent  effect  in  directing  the  attention  of  many 
people  to  the  Land  of  the  Midnight  Sun.  Blessum  is  a  Knight  of  St. 
Olav.  When  he  resigned  in  1937,  Knut  Olsen,  who  had  considerable 
experience  in  this  kind  of  work,  was  appointed  as  his  successor.  The 
name  of  the  bureau  is  now  the  Norwegian  Travel  Information  Office. 
In  1940,  Olsen  was  presented  with  the  Medal  of  St.  Olav. 

In  1920  the  well-known  Bennett  Travel  Bureau  of  Oslo  established 
a  branch  in  New  York.  And  the  B.  &  N.  Line,  Inc.,  (Bergenske  og 
Nordenfjeldske  Dampskibsselskaper)  with  their  two  elegant  tourist 
yachts,  Stella  Polaris  and  Meteor,  have  also  found  it  desirable  to  main- 
tain offices  in  New  York.  Christian  Mohn,  the  manager,  is  a  Knight 
of  St.  Olav. 

In  1916,  Peter  Figved,  who  was  born  in  Stavanger  and  had  spent 
many  years  in  Chicago  as  an  importer  of  Norwegian  fish  products, 
established  a  factory  in  Portland,  Maine,  for  canning  the  native  seafood. 
He  imported  skilled  help  from  Stavanger  to  do  the  work.  While  the 
herring  caught  along  the  coast  of  Maine  is  not  of  the  highest  grade,  it 
has  a  ready  market  when  kippered.  Figved  also  canned  fishballs.  The 
business  looked  promising,  and  there  was  no  reason  why  the  firm  should 

Miscellaneous  Items 


not  have  prospered,  but  inadequate  management  spoiled  a  good  oppor- 

In  1912  the  Hudson  Bay  Company,  with  Vilhjalmur  Stefansson  as 
adviser,  purchased  700  reindeer  in  Norway  and  turned  them  loose  in 
Northern  Canada,  where  it  was  hoped  that  they  would  be  able  to  subsist. 
After  a  few  years,  the  reindeer  disappeared  altogether,  either  being  un- 
able to  find  suitable  food  or  being  destroyed  by  wolves.13 

The  State  of  Michigan  made  a  similar  experiment  in  1922,  importing 
60  reindeer  and  turning  them  loose  in  Northern  Michigan.  In  this  case 
the  experiment  failed  because  the  available  moss  was  not  suitable.14 

In  Alaska,  however,  the  imported  reindeer  have  done  well.  There 
the  Lomen  family  is  now  owner  of  great  herds. 

The  Arctic  explorer,  Christian  Leden,  and  others  organized  the 
American  Arctic  Company  in  1918  for  the  purpose  of  trading  with  the 
Eskimos  in  Hudson  Bay  and  Northern  Canada.  A  ship  was  secured  and 
loaded  with  articles  to  be  exchanged  for  furs,  but  in  Hudson  Bay  the 
ship  hit  an  unchartered  reef  and  was  wrecked.  And  that  was  the  last  of 
the  American  Arctic  Company,  in  which  $70,000  had  been  invested.15 

In  1924  and  1925,  a  good  many  people  in  New  York  invested  money 
in  Nahatco,  a  Norwegian-American  hog  raising  farm  at  Spro,  Store  Rud, 
Nesodden,  near  Oslo.  The  chief  promoter  was  a  man  by  name  Hjalmar 
Thorvaldsen,  who  seemed  to  be  well-meaning  enough  and  had  an  at- 
tractive and  sensible  plan.  There  was,  however,  too  much  optimism 
mixed  into  the  affair,  which  ended  in  a  complete  fiasco.16 

In  the  late  Twenties  some  four-legged  immigrants,  Norwegian  elk- 
hounds,  came  over  to  the  United  States,  where  they  were  much  admired 
for  their  intelligence  and  sturdy  appearance.  When  Herbert  Hoover  was 
President,  he  kept  one  of  these  dogs,  "Norrie",  in  the  White  House,  and 
Lieutenant  Commander  Charles  E.  Rosendahl,  who,  in  1929,  com- 
manded the  Zeppelin  Afyon,  owned  another,  "Belleau".  The  two  broth- 
ers, Stephen  and  Hallvard  Bergdahl,  in  Verona,  N.  J.,  imported  two  such 
dogs  from  Telemarken.  The  breed  is  now  quite  numerous  in  the  United 
States.  In  1931  there  existed  an  organization,  the  Norwegian  Elkhound 

i3Xordis\  Tidende,  August  18,  1921. 

i*Hordis\  Tidende,  March  2,  1922. 

15Nord:s/(  Tidende,  June  20,  1918. 

™Hordis\  Tidende,  October  16,  1924;  July  16,  1925. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Association  of  America,  headed  by  Oliver  Holdcn,  a  former  Army  Cap- 

A  Norwegian-American  newspaper,  published  in  a  large  city,  natur- 
ally comes  in  contact  with  many  peculiar  fates  and  experiences.  Here 
is  one  of  these: 

In  the  summer  of  191 2  the  editor  of  Nordis/^  Tidende  was  called  on 
the  telephone  by  a  Danish  doctor,  H.  Nielsen,  in  Yonkers,  which  adjoins 
New  York  City  on  the  North.  Dr.  Nielsen  stated  that  he  had  come  across 
a  Norwegian  boy,  J.  S0rensen,  under  distressing  circumstances,  and 
would  Nordis\  Tidende  give  him  a  hand  in  helping  the  boy? 

The  story  of  S0rensen  was  as  follows:  He  was  born  and  brought  up 
in  Northern  Norway,  but  wanted  to  take  a  look  at  the  world,  and  so  he 
shipped  on  a  small  one-master  that  took  him  to  Copenhagen.  In  the 
Danish  City  he  signed  on  board  a  steamer  that  was  bound  for  New 
Orleans,  and  on  arrival  there,  the  crew — including  S0rensen — deserted. 
When  they  had  gotten  well  into  town,  all  of  his  comrades  disappeared, 
and  S0rensen  found  himself  alone  in  a  strange  city,  and  unable  to  speak 
a  word  of  English.  In  some  way  or  other,  he  found  a  job  at  street  paving, 
but  he  was  inexperienced,  his  comrades  were  Negroes  and  the  heat  was 
terrific.  He  realized  that  he  would  have  to  try  to  get  up  North,  or  he 
would  succumb.  "Beating"  the  freight  trains  S0rensen  came  to  a  place 
in  the  Carolinas,  and  he  got  off  the  freight  car  to  stretch  his  legs.  But 
he  had  no  sooner  crossed  over  to  the  other  track  when  a  train  ran  him 
down  and  took  one  of  his  legs  off  above  the  knee.  S0rensen  was  brought 
to  a  nearby  hospital  and  when  he  was  well  on  the  road  to  recovery,  he 
was  given  a  peg-leg,  a  ten  dollar  bill,  and  a  railway  ticket  to  New  York. 
A  few  days  later  S0rensen  was  standing  somewhere  in  downtown  New 
York,  looking  at  the  crowds  rushing  by  and  realizing  that  he  would  have 
to  get  out  into  a  peaceful  suburb  if  he  were  to  find  a  job  again.  How  he 
came  to  Yonkers  he  could  not  explain,  but  he  found  an  Italian  barber 
shop  there,  where  the  boss  realized  his  helplessness  and  set  him  to  shining 
shoes.  In  the  meantime,  the  boss  sent  out  for  people  of  various  nationali- 
ties, trying  to  open  up  a  conversation  with  him.  But  it  was  not  until  Dr. 
Nielsen — the  Dane — came  along  that  he  had  any  success.  By  this  time 
S0rensen  was  in  "a  very  bad  fix",  because  of  the  continuous  friction  of 
the  peg-leg  on  the  still  unhealed  wound.  Gangrene  had  begun  to  set  in, 
and  it  was  high  time  that  he  received  medical  care.  A  collection  in 

Miscellaneous  Items 


Nordis\  Tidende  provided  S0rensen  with  an  artificial  leg  and  $200  be- 
sides. And  a  steady  job  in  Yonkers  put  him  in  fairly  easy  circumstances. 


It  goes  without  saying  that  a  great  deal  of  money  is  sent  from  New 
York  to  Norway  regularly,  more  perhaps  from  New  York  than  from 
any  other  place  in  America.  The  reason  for  this  is  that  there  are  so  many 
Norwegians  here  who  are  supporting  their  people  on  the  other  side,  or 
are  here  only  temporarily — such  as  seamen  and  others — and  who  send 
what  money  they  save  to  Norway.  The  result  is  that  money  goes  across 
the  ocean  in  a  steady  and  unending  stream.  This,  of  course,  necessi- 
tates agencies  which  transact  such  business,  and  perhaps  the  largest  and 
oldest  of  these,  dealing  with  private  and  personal  funds,  apart  from  busi- 
ness transactions,  is  C.  A.  Hanssen  and  Brother,  Brooklyn.  This  firm 
started  in  business  in  1899  by  buying  out  I.  F.  Iversen,  and  now  carries 
on  an  extensive  traffic  in  steamship  tickets  and  money  orders  to  Norway. 
The  two  Hanssen  brothers  are  from  Fredrikshald.  C.  A.  Hansson  has 
been  very  active  in  civic  work  and  served  for  a  number  of  years  as  presi- 
dent of  the  Norwegian  Children's  Home.  Several  of  his  sons  are  now 
interested  in  the  firm,  which  in  1921  sent  nearly  10  million  kroner  to 
Norway.  The  banner  year,  however,  was  1929,  when  12  million  kroner 
was  sent.  During  the  depression,  the  lowest  point  was  touched  in  1939, 
with  only  600,000  kroner. 

The  United  States  Postal  Department  stated  in  February,  1916,  that 
it  had  sent  to  Norway  during  the  preceding  fifteen  years  thirty-one  and 
one  half  million  dollars.  This  is  exclusive  of  what  had  been  sent  by  regis- 
tered letter,  bank,  express  money  orders,  and  private  agencies.  Nordisf^ 
Tidende  reached  the  conclusion  that  it  was  fair  to  assume  that  at  least 
sixty  million  dollars  or  225  million  kroner  had  been  sent  to  Norway  dur- 
ing the  past  fifteen  years.  From  Greater  New  York  only,  the  paper  esti- 
mated that  about  one  million  dollars  went  to  Norway  yearly.  Business 
transactions  were,  of  course,  not  included  in  these  figures. 

And  here  is  some  further  information  concerning  the  sending  of 
money  to  Norway.  In  Amerifaferd,  written  by  C.  }.  Hambro  and  pub- 
lished in  1935,  when  the  Norwegian  America  Line  was  twenty-five  years 
old,  the  statement  is  made  that  the  Line,  through  its  offices  in  the 
United  States,  had  forwarded  to  Norway  nearly  200  million  kroner  in 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

twenty  and  one  half  years.  These  are  not  business  transactions,  but  money 
sent  for  the  support  of  families  and  for  gifts.  An  average  year,  after  the 
depression  started  in  America  is  mentioned — 1929.  In  this  year,  the 
main  office  in  Oslo  received  11  million  kroner  in  this  manner — divided 
into  75,000  transactions — that  is  to  say,  not  quite  150  kroner  as  an  average 
in  each  transaction.  In  that  year  one  million  kroner  came  as  presents  for 
Christmas.  In  other  years  two  million  kroner  would  be  sent.  The  hard 
times  in  Canada  and  the  United  States  have  influenced  the  size  of  the 
amounts  sent,  but  the  number  of  transactions  remains  about  the  same: 

For  the  year  1939,  the  United  States  Bureau  of  Foreign  and  Domes- 
tic Commerce  reported  that  two  million  dollars  of  personal  remittances 
had  been  sent  to  Norway.  In  this  amount  was  included  money  sent  by  the 
Post  Office  and  by  fifty  banks,  steamship  companies  and  express  com- 
panies. No  figures  were  available  from  private  concerns.17 

These  various  facts  show  that  the  money  from  the  United  States 
has  been  of  importance  in  the  economic  life  of  Norway.  In  certain  dis- 
tricts, such  as,  for  instance,  Lista,  the  American  money  has  been  a  de- 
cided factor  in  the  welfare  of  the  population.  The  mortgage  on  many 
a  farm  has  been  lifted  through  savings  in  the  United  States. 

In  1900  there  were  only  11,387  people  classed  as  Norwegian  in  New 
York.  In  191  o  the  number  had  increased  to  33,179.  Of  these  22,280  were 
born  in  Norway  and  10,899  here.  5,343  were  living  in  Manhattan;  1,809 
in  the  Bronx;  23,090  in  Brooklyn;  899  in  Queens,  and  2,048  in  Richmond 
(Staten  Island). 

In  New  Jersey  there  were  8,352  Norwegians  in  1910,  of  whom  5,351 
were  born  in  Norway  and  3,001  here.  In  Massachusetts  8,370,  of  whom 
5,432  were  born  in  Norway  and  2,938  here. 

In  1920  in  New  York  there  were  24,490  Norwegian-born,  divided  as 
follows:  Manhattan,  3,595;  Bronx,  974;  Brooklyn,  17,495;  Queens,  844; 
Richmond,  1,582.  In  New  Jersey  in  1920,  the  Norwegian-born  numbered 


Of  the  population  of  Greater  New  York  62,915  were  classed  as  Nor- 
wegians in  the  United  States  census  for  1930.  Of  these  38,130  were  born 

i-Jiew  Jor\  Times,  February  22,  1940. 

Miscellaneous  Items 


in  Norway  and  24,785  were  born  of  parents  born  in  Norway,  or  were 
of  mixed  parentage. 

The  immigration  laws  of  the  United  States  have  gradually  become 
stricter  and  the  Norwegian  quota  which  in  1924  provided  for  12,202  im- 
migrants per  year,  has  been  repeatedly  reduced.  In  1927  the  present 
quota  was  set  at  2,377  Per  vear-  This  has,  however,  proved  to  be  amply 
sufficient  for  Norwegian  requirements,  because  of  the  hard  times  in  the 
United  States.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  more  people  have  departed  than  have 
been  admitted  during  the  last  five  years. 

admitted  departed 

1935   311  596 

1936   287  617 

1937   427  58° 

1938   635  5°6 

1939   527  455 

Total   2,187  2,754 

Christian  Leden,  explorer,  1918;  Nanna  With,  journalist,  1919; 
David  Knudsen,  actor,  1919;  Bishop  Bernt  St0ylen,  1919;  Dr.  jur.  Otto 
Morgenstierne,  1919;  Carl  Struve,  opera  singer,  1919;  Borghild  Langaard 
Lindvig,  singer,  1919;  Erik  Bye,  singer,  1919;  Erik  Harildstad,  blind 
social  worker,  1919;  Drs.  Dagny  Bang,  Regine  Stang,  Louise  Isaachsen, 
Christine  Munch,  attending  the  international  conference  of  women  phy- 
sicians, 1920;  Sister  Elizabeth  Werner,  1920;  Nils  Larsen,  pianist,  1920; 
Carl  Lumholtz,  explorer,  on  his  way  to  New  Guinea,  1920;  Nils  Par- 
mann,  banker,  1920;  Johanne  Margrethe  S0mme,  pianist,  1920;  Professor 
K.  L.  Reichelt,  missionary  in  China,  1920;  Dr.  Sofus  Wider0e,  1920; 
Rosenkrantz  Johnsen  and  wife,  1920;  Cand.  theol.  Johannes  Brandtzaeg 
and  Rev.  Fredrik  M0ller,  1920;  Peder  Rinde,  member  of  parliament, 
1920;  Sam  Eyde,  1921;  Sven  Schartum,  general  secretary,  Seamen's  Mis- 
sion, 1921;  Dr.  F.  G.  Gade,  Nordmanns-Forbundet,  1921;  St.  Olafskoret, 
1922;  Dr.  H.  U.  Sverdrup,  explorer,  1922;  Storm-Monsen,  evangelists, 
1922;  Ludvig  Saxe,  Nordmanns-Forbundet,  1921;  Albert  G.  Lunde, 
preacher,  1921;  Dr.  Jon  Alfred  Mj0en,  1921;  William  Ivarson,  actor,  and 
wife,  1922;  Sigurd  Folkestad,  Nordmanns-Forbundet,  1922;  Grace  Hoist, 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

opera  singer,  1922;  S.  Kvaale,  teacher,  1923;  Otto  Sverdrup,  explorer, 
1923,  Roald  Amundsen,  1923;  Johan  Bojer,  author,  1923;  Professor  O. 
Hallesby,  1923;  Fridtjof  Nansen,  1923;  Roald  Amundsen,  1924;  F.  L. 
Konow,  Cabinet  member,  1924;  Rasmus  Breistein,  film,  1924;  Bishop 
Johan  G.  Lunde,  1926;  Chief  of  Police  Eriksen,  Bergen,  1925;  Mons 
Breidvik,  artist,  1925;  Rasmus  Rasmussen,  actor,  1925;  Erling  Drangs- 
holt,  actor,  1925;  Director  General  Hjalmar  Wessel,  Borregaard,  1925; 
Hans  Seland,  author,  1925. 


Bern  Frielc,  born  in  Bergen  in  1895,  is  a  high  officer  of  the  giant 
Atlantic  and  Pacific  Corporation,  with  its  numerous  chain  stores  through- 
out the  country.  He  is  in  charge  of  the  coffee  and  cholocate  branch,  and 
he  is  also  director  of  the  business  in  Brazil  and  Columbia.  A  younger 
brother,  Haakon  Friele,  born  in  1897,  came  to  New  York  in  191 6  and 
is  now  in  Seattle,  engaged  in  the  salmon  industry.18 

Edwin  O.  Holter,  New  York  attorney,  is  the  son  of  the  well-known 
pioneer  and  business  man  Anton  M.  Holter  of  Helena,  Montana.  Holter 
senior,  who  died  in  1921,  at  the  age  of  90  years,  was  an  immigrant  from 
Moss,  Norway.  He  was  one  of  the  outstanding  men  in  his  State.  Edwin 
O.  Holter  is  a  trustee  of  the  American-Scandinavian  Foundation  and  has 
taken  part  in  many  Norwegian  activities.  He  is  a  Knight  of  the  first  class 
of  St.  Olav. 

Gerhard  Melvin  Dahl,  son  of  Bishop  T.  H.  Dahl,  sometime  president 
of  the  United  Norwegian  Lutheran  Church,  was  born  in  1876  and 
graduated  from  Wisconsin  State  University  twenty  years  later.  He  prac- 
ticed law  in  that  State  for  some  years  and  then  moved  to  Cleveland,  Ohio, 
where  he  became  commissioner  of  street  railways.  In  1912  Dahl  settled 
in  New  York  City,  became  vice-president  of  the  Chase  National  Bank, 
and  later  a  partner  in  the  banking  firm  Hayden,  Stone  and  Company  of 
New  York  and  Boston.  In  1924  he  became  administrative  director  of  the 
Brooklyn-Manhattan  Transit  Corporation,  and  later  chairman  of  the 
board  of  the  company.  He  is  a  director  of  Postal  Telegraph,  Inc.,  and  in 
many  other  corporations. 

One  of  the  largest  business  enterprises  carried  on  by  Norwegians  in 
New  York  is  the  Larsen  Baking  Company  at  Henry  and  Mill  Streets, 

^Hordis\  Tidende.  February  14,  1924. 

Miscellaneous  Items 


Brooklyn.  The  founder  of  the  business  was  C.  W.  Larsen,  who  came 
from  Oslo  in  1887,  and  instead  of  pursuing  his  regular  trade  as  a  wall- 
paper printer,  first  operated  a  laundry  and  then  started  a  bakery  on 
Hamilton  Avenue.  C.  W.  Larsen  was  a  keen  and  energetic  business  man, 
and  as  he  had  various  Norwegian  specialties  to  offer,  such  as  grislebryid, 
the  undertaking  prospered  from  the  start.  When  he  died  in  1917,  at  the 
age  of  52,  his  son,  Charles  E.  Larsen,  stepped  in  and  has  since  been 
running  the  business  with  great  success.  The  business  has  undergone 
several  large  expansions  and  employs  now  some  two  hundred  delivery 
trucks — all  automobiles.  With  these  trucks,  large  sections  of  Brooklyn, 
Long  Island,  Staten  Island  and  New  Jersey  are  covered.  In  the  splendid 
modern  plant  as  many  as  45,000  to  50,000  loaves  of  bread  are  being 
produced  on  peak  days.  During  Christmas  week  of  1939,  15  tons  of 
fruit  cake,  10  tons  of  cofifee  stollen,  10  tons  of  ]ule\a\e,  3  tons  of  marzi- 
pan, 7  tons  of  fancy  cookies,  and  n  tons  of  pies  were  made  and  sold — 
not  to  mention  smaller  amounts  of  countless  other  items.  The  manu- 
facture and  sale  of  these  products  keep  450  to  500  people  employed. 

In  1939  the  Larsen  Baking  Company's  holiday  packages  won  a  gold 
award  in  the  Ail-American  Packaging  Competition,  where  more  than 
30,000  entries  from  all  branches  of  industry  competed  for  the  twenty 
gold  awards.  Larsen  won  awards  also  in  1936  and  1937 — the  only  bakery 
that  has  ever  won  three  All-American  awards.  Charles  E.  Larsen  is  a 
Knight  of  the  Norwegian  Order  of  St.  Olav,  and  a  member  of  the 
board  of  the  Norwegian  Hospital.  He  is  a  cheerful  giver  to  worthy 

Johannes  (Jack)  Andersen,  president  of  J.  Andersen  &  Company, 
has  been  in  the  paper,  wood  pulp  and  cellulose  business  in  New  York 
for  more  than  fifty  years,  and  is  now  (1941)  one  of  the  Norwegians,  born 
in  Norway,  who  has  lived  here  the  longest.  Andersen  was  born  in  Sande- 
fjord  and  he  finished  the  "middle  school"  in  that  city.  His  father,  Cap- 
tain Karl  Edvard  Andersen,  then  took  young  Jack  along  as  a  cabin  boy 
on  board  the  sailing  ship  Dronningen  (earlier  name  Celestial  Queen) 
and  put  him  ashore  in  Quebec  for  some  additional  schooling.  This  was  in 
1882.  Dronningen  was  a  1,000  tonner  and  had  for  years  carried  emi- 
grants from  Norway  to  Quebec  and  lumber  from  Quebec  to  England  or 
other  European  ports.  Andersen,  who  was  then  about  sixteen  years  old, 
went  to  school  for  nine  months  in  the  Canadian  city  and  claims  the  dis- 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

tinction  of  having  introduced  skiing  in  Canada.  It  came  about  in  this 
way:  Andersen  had  the  carpenter  on  board  his  father's  ship  make  him 
a  pair  of  skis.  These  he  used  on  the  hills  at  Quebec,  and  the  noble  sport 
spread  rapidly  to  Andersen's  schoolmates  and  even  westward  towards 

In  1883  Andersen  came  to  New  York  for  the  purpose  of  going  back 
to  Norway  with  his  uncle,  who  was  also  a  sea  captain.  But  "man  pro- 
poses, God  disposes"!  Instead  of  staying  in  New  York  for  a  brief  visit, 
Andersen  has  been  here  for  57  years  so  far.  A  friend  of  his19  prevailed 
on  him  to  take  a  temporary  job  with  Consul  B0rs  at  the  Swedish-Norwe- 
gian Consulate.  Later  he  was  employed  by  a  Belgian  importer,  who  had 
been  a  partner  of  B0rs,  and  in  the  late  Eighties  he  entered  the  paper, 
wood  pulp  and  cellulose  business.  In  1891  he  became  associated  with 
Frederick  Bertuch  &  Company;-'0  in  1895  he  also  became  associated  with 
the  Pulp  and  Paper  Trading  Company,  and  when  Mr.  Bertuch  retired 
in  1912,  the  firms  were  reorganized  under  the  name  J.  Andersen  &  Com- 
pany, with  M.  Gintzler  as  a  partner.  The  firm  has  ever  since  been  a 
leading  one  in  its  line  and  has  been  a  big  importer  from  Norway. 
Bertuch,  and  later  Andersen  and  Gintzler  were  made  Knights  of  the 
Norwegian  Order  of  St.  Olav  for  their  interest  in  Norwegian  exports. 
Andersen  has  for  a  number  of  years  been  president  of  the  board  of 
trustees  of  the  Norwegian  Seamen's  Church  in  Brooklyn. 

Mr.  Andersen  states  that  some  of  the  Norwegian  people  he  came  in 
contact  with  after  his  arrival  in  New  York  in  1883  were  Consul  C.  B0rs, 
Vice-Consul  C.  Ravn,  Dr.  Viggo  Drewsen  and  his  brother  Aage,  Bernt 
Berger,  Emil  Bockman,  Max  and  Henry  Norman,  and  Boye  C.  Boyesen. 
In  1883  the  skyscrapers  had  not  yet  been  built,  the  tallest  buildings  in 
town  being  the  World  Building  in  Park  Row  and  the  Field  Building  at 
1  Broadway.  Andersen  was  present  when  the  first  small  Norwegian 
Hospital  was  opened  at  Fourth  Avenue  and  Ninth  Street  (1885);  also 
when  the  cornerstone  of  the  present  hospital  was  laid  (1903).21 

Anton  Olafsen,  born  in  T0nsberg,  was  an  experienced  man  in  the 
paper  industry.  In  1920  he  came  to  New  York  as  manager  of  the  Ameri- 

19This  was  Emil  Bockman,  who  was  then  with  Benham  e?  Boyesen,  ship  brokers. 

Later  he  became  an  importer  of  marble,  also  of  Norwegian  marble  from  Salten. 
20When  Bertuch  died  he  left  $25,000  to  the  Norwegian  Hospital  of  BrooklyD 

and  a  like  amount  to  the  Technical  High  School  in  Trondheim. 
21Johannes  Andersen  to  the  author. 

Miscellaneous  Items 


can  offices  of  the  Borregaard  Paper  Mills  at  Sarpsborg,  Norway.  In  1920 
the  company  purchased  the  Waterfalls  Paper  Mills  in  Mechanic  Falls, 
Maine,  for  the  manufacture  of  fine  grades  of  paper,  but  sold  the  plant 
again  in  1940.  When  Olafsen  returned  to  Norway  in  1934,  to  become 
one  of  the  directors  of  Den  norske  Kreditbank,  his  position  in  New  York 
was  taken  by  Rolf  G.  Westad.22 

Johannes  Westergaard,  for  many  years  with  Atterbury  Brothers, 
Inc.,  was  in  1939  elected  president  of  American  Wood  Pulp  Importers' 
Association.  Westergaard  has  been  in  New  York  for  twenty  years  and 
represents  several  of  the  large  wood  pulp  producers  in  Norway.23  Both 
Westergaard  and  Westad  are  Knights  of  the  first  class  of  the  Order  of 
St.  Olav.  Mr.  Westergaard  is  now  vice-president  of  Castle  &  Overton. 

The  direct  radio  connection  between  America  and  Norway,  which 
was  established  in  1918,  has  helped  materially  to  draw  the  two  countries 
closer  together.  It  is  now  possible  to  communicate  across  the  Atlantic 
cheaply  and  without  delay.24 

The  first  telephone  connection  between  New  York  and  Oslo  was 
opened  to  the  public  July  6,  1928.  The  first  conversation  over  the  new 
connection  between  the  two  countries  was  carried  on  by  Consul  General 
Hans  Fay,  New  York,  and  Bj0rn  Thommesen,  editor  of  Tidens  Tegn, 

In  July,  1930,  the  first  broadcast  from  Norway  to  the  United  States 
was  sent  out,  on  the  occasion  of  the  900th  anniversary  of  the  establish- 
ment of  Christianity  in  Norway.  The  festivities  took  place  in  the  old 
cathedral  at  Trondheim. 

Wilhelm  Munthe  Morgenstierne,  Minister  of  Norway  to  the  United 
States,  has  spent  so  much  time  in  this  country  that  he  might  almost  be 
considered  a  Norwegian- American.  It  has  been  figured  out  that  in  1940 
he  had  been  here  for  about  eighteen  years  in  various  diplomatic  posts 
and  missions. 

Morgenstierne  was  in  Washington  first  at  the  age  of  22,  a  fledgling 
in  diplomacy,  becoming  charge  d'affaires  with  the  sudden  death  of  Min- 
ister Gude.  Later  he  traveled  all  over  the  United  States  and  Canada  on 
a  speaking  tour  for  Nordmanns-Forbundet.  He  has  been  counsellor  of 

22Hordis\  Tidende,  March  23,  1922. 
237*[ordmanns-Forbundet,  January,  1940. 
2*Xordis\  Tidende,  May  23,  1918. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

the  Legation  in  Washington,  he  was  Consul  General  in  New  York  from 
1929  to  1934,  and  he  became  Minister  in  that  year.  Morgenstierne  has 
been  successful  in  this  important  post  and  he  is  popular  with  his  country- 
men here.  Rolf  A.  Christensen  succeeded  Mr.  Morgenstierne  as  Consul 

Arne  Kildal  who  for  a  long  stretch  of  years  has  been  general  secre- 
tary of  Nordmanns-Forbundet,  Oslo,  received  in  1907  the  title  Bachelor 
of  Library  Science,  after  having  completed  the  two-year  course  at  the 
library  school  in  Albany,  New  York.  Kildal  was  from  1920  to  1925 
Norwegian  press  attache  in  New  York.  The  position  was  then  abolish- 
ed. In  1940  the  position  was  revived  and  Hans  Olav — for  ten  years  edi- 
tor of  Nordis\  Tidende — became  the  new  press  attache.  After  the  in- 
vasion of  Norway  by  the  Germans,  Hans  Olav  has  rendered  a  great  ser- 
vice by  keeping  the  American  and  Norwegian-American  public  informed 
of  what  was  going  in  on  Norway.  He  is  a  Knight  of  St.  Olav. 

Nelson  B.  Nelson  has  become  well  known  in  Brooklyn  through  his 
leadership  of  campaigns  for  worthy  causes.  He  has,  with  success,  cham- 
pioned drives  for  the  Red  Cross  in  Brooklyn,  but  his  biggest  job  as  a 
social  service  worker  was  the  chairmanship  of  the  campaign  committee 
for  the  erection  of  the  Flatbush  Boys'  Club  at  the  cost  of  $250,000.  This 
was  successfully  accomplished.  Nelson  was  born  in  Stavanger,  Norway, 
in  1883,  and  four  years  later  came  to  New  York  with  his  parents.  His 
father  was  a  seafaring  man.  Nelson  grew  up  on  Red  Hook  Point,  Brook- 
lyn, and  was  confirmed  in  Our  Savior's  Church  in  Henry  Street.  He  has 
been  a  Wall  Street  broker  for  many  years,  and  he  is  now  interested  in 
real  estate.25 

Torkild  Rieber  was  born  in  1882  on  Vossevangen  near  Bergen, 
where  his  father  owned  a  woolen  mill.  He  went  to  sea  at  an  early  age 
and  was  captain  of  a  sailing  vessel  when  he  was  only  21  years  old.  This 
ship  was  an  oil  carrier  and  when  it  was  bought  by  the  Texas  Corporation, 
Rieber  became  an  employee  of  the  company.  He  continued  for  four  years 
as  captain  and  thereafter  he  gradually  worked  himself  up  until  he  be- 
came Chairman  of  the  Board  of  Directors  of  the  enormous  corporation, 
which  consists  of  85,000  stockholders  with  a  capital  of  $473,000,000. 
His  salary  for  the  year  1938  was  $100,000,  according  to  newspaper  re- 

"Carl  Seyland,  Hordis\  Tiderude,  1930. 

Miscellaneous  Items 


ports.  When  the  movement  was  started  to  collect  money  for  relief  work 
in  Norway,  Rieber  donated  personally  $25,000,  and  his  corporation  con- 
tributed a  similar  amount.  In  the  summer  of  1940,  during  the  war  be- 
tween Great  Britain  and  Germany,  it  was  claimed  that  Rieber  had  been 
too  friendly  with  representatives  of  the  latter  country.  As  a  result,  Rieber 
resigned  from  his  position  with  the  Texas  Corporation.1'6  He  is  a  Knight 
of  St.  Olav. 

Peter  M.  Sivertsen  who  now  lives  in  Stamford,  Conn.,  is  the  inventor 
and  manufacturer  of  a  slicing  machine  which  has  obtained  a  wide  sale 
and  is  used  extensively  by  stores  and  institutions  where  bread  and  other 
foodstuffs  are  needed  in  large  quantities.  The  machine  is  made  and 
marketed  by  the  Globe  Slicing  Machine  Company,  Peter  M.  Sivertsen, 
president.  The  factory  is  located  in  Stamford  and  the  company  has  a 
branch  office  in  New  York.  Sivertsen  is  from  Hitter0,  near  Flekkefjord, 
and  he  started  in  business  for  himself  about  1920. 


The  following  concerns  are  in  the  business  of  importing  goods  from 
Norway  and  exporting  goods  to  Norway: 

B.  &  H.  Trading  Co.,  Inc.,  J.  A.  Berg;  Boe  &  Burgi,  Inc.,  Magnus 
Boe;  Peter  Arnesen;  Rolf  Carlsen;  S.  A.  Haram;  Olaf  Hertzwig  Trading 
Co.,  Olaf  N.  Hertzwig;  J.  Holmboe  &  Co.,  J.  Holmboe;  B.  Holm- 
Hansen;  Exporters  Alliance,  Albert  R0ren;  Norse  Produce  Co.,  Martin 
Solberg;  Northam  Commercial  Co.,  Sigurd  Gran  Meyer;  Norse  House, 
Thv.  Thorgaldsen;  Chr.  Juul;  Scandinavian  Trading  Co.;  Trondhjem 
Preserving  Co.,  Sigurd  Sater;  Von  Bremen-Asche-de  Bruyn,  Inc.,  Her- 
man T.  Asche;  Westergaard,  Berg-Johnsen  Co.,  B.  Westergaard,  J.  Berg- 
Johnsen;  Einar  Hammer,  vice-president  and  treasurer,  L.  W.  Minford  & 
Co.,  Inc.;  Peder  Devoid  Oil  Co.27 

Frederick  Raymond  Bay,  who  died  in  Pasadena,  Cal.,  in  May,  1941, 
was  born  in  New  York,  a  son  of  John  Christopher  Bay,  of  Oslo,  and 
Marie  Hauan  Bay,  of  Hammerfest,  Norway.  He  was  educated  at  the 
University  of  Michigan  School  of  Chemical  Engineering,  and  served  in 
the  World  War  as  a  lieutenant  flyer. 

After  the  war,  he  and  his  brother,  Charles  Ulrick  Bay,  founded  the 

267W,  August,  1940. 

"Norwegian-American  Chamber  of  Commerce,  Inc. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Bay  Company,  manufacturer  of  surgical  dressings,  with  offices  in  New 
York  and  a  plant  in  Bridgeport,  Conn.  The  firm  was  merged  in  1931 
with  Parke,  Davis  &  Company,  pharmaceutical  manufacturers.  Charles 
Ulrick  Bay  is  now  a  general  partner  in  the  brokerage  firm  of  A.  M. 
Kidder  &  Company,  1  Wall  Street. 

Mr.  Bay  was  appointed  a  Knight  of  the  First  Class  of  the  Order 
of  St.  Olav  in  1939.  During  the  Russian  invasion  of  Finland  in  1939-40, 
he  headed  the  Norwegian  division  of  the  Finnish  Relief  campaign.  He 
was  a  collector  of  first  editions  and  art  works. 

Herman  T.  Asche  is  an  importer  of  Norwegian  and  other  European 
food  products,  and  he  has  been,  for  a  number  of  years,  president  of  the 
Norwegian-American  Chamber  of  Commerce.  He  was  also  for  some 
years  president  of  the  Norwegian  Club,  and  has  otherwise  been  active 
in  many  Norwegian-American  affairs. 

Many  Norwegian  women  have  become  teachers  and  are  employed 
in  the  public  school  system  of  New  York.  Of  these  may  be  mentioned 
Gunhild  C.  Bothner  (principal),  Inga  Samuelsen,  Louise  Dahlberg, 
Agnes  Rygg,  Anna  Evans,  Esther  Dickinson,  Henrietta  Harris,  Gudrun 
and  Alice  Kartevold,  Ruth  Hillestad,  Ida  Olsen,  Agnes  Goghran,  Inga 
Harris,  Alice  Bruun. 

A  thirty-three  year  old  Norwegian,  John  Edward  Harrison,  received 
from  Mayor  Mitchell  a  New  York  City  hero  medal  for  having  under 
dangerous  circumstances  saved  a  human  life  at  Coney  Island.28 

In  1939  a  young  Norwegian,  Carl  F.  A.  Olsen,  of  Brooklyn,  re- 
ceived a  medal  from  the  Carnegie  Life  Saving  Fund.  In  1930  Olsen 
graduated  from  Cornell  University,  and  he  has  since  been  stationed  in 
the  Southern  States  as  engineer  in  the  United  States  Forestry  Service. 
The  rescue  took  place  in  a  shark-infested  place  down  in  the  Bay  of 

Si  vert  Svendsen,  who  died  in  November,  1937,  in  New  York,  was 
the  oldest  Norwegian  in  the  city,  where  he  had  lived  for  40  years.  He 
was  98  years  old  and  came  to  America  in  1882  from  Hitter0y,  Norway. 
He  was  a  sailor  for  29  years  and  he  was  employed  by  a  stevedore  firm 
for  44  years. 

Olaf  Rove  was  born  in  Fredrikshald,  Norway,  in  1864,  and  came 

*sXordis\  Tidende,  March  16,  1916. 
29Hordis\  Tidende,  November  9,  1939. 

Miscellaneous  Items 


at  the  age  of  twenty  to  New  York,  where,  for  a  while,  he  was  attached 
to  the  Norwegian  Consulate.  He  then  went  West,  graduated  as  a  lawyer 
from  the  University  of  Wisconsin,  and  thereafter  for  about  forty  years 
served  as  attorney  for  the  Northwestern  Life  Insurance  Company  in 
Milwaukee.  Rove  served  also  as  Norwegian  Vice-Consul  for  many  years. 
He  was  a  Commander  of  the  Order  of  St.  Olav.  He  was  at  one  time 
president  of  the  order  Sons  of  Norway.  Rove's  second  wife,  Mrs.  Sara 
de  Neergaard  Rove,  is  very  prominent  in  Danish  circles  and  has  also 
been  much  interested  in  the  Norwegian  Hospital.  Rove  spent  his  last 
years  in  Brooklyn,  where  he  died  in  1940. 

Erling  Iversen  is  a  young  Norwegian  who  has  made  a  rapid  career. 
He  is  the  son  of  the  late  Captain  Frithjof  Iversen,  at  one  time  superin- 
tendent of  the  Norwegian  Sailors'  Home,  and  was  born  in  Brooklyn  in 
1910.  Erling  Iversen  began  his  studies  at  Pratt  Institute  in  1930  and  was 
graduated  from  its  Architectural  Course  in  1934.  In  1936  he  was  given 
his  B.A.  from  the  School  of  Architecture  of  New  York  University.  In 
1940  he  was  awarded  the  diploma  of  the  American  Academy  in  Rome. 
He  won  several  prizes  and  scholarships,  and  has  now  been  appointed 
instructor  at  Pratt  Institute  in  a  course  embracing  the  construction  of 
Air  Raid  Shelters,  and  several  other  courses  pertaining  to  air  defense.30 

Captain  M.  B.  Simonsen  from  Harstad,  Norway,  was  for  six  and 
one  half  years,  and  until  1919,  employed  by  the  government  of  New- 
foundland as  an  inspector  and  instructor  in  the  production  of  cod  liver 
oil  for  medicinal  use.31 

Sigurd  Elstad  from  0stfold,  Norway,  who  had  spent  many  years  of 
his  life  in  Australia,  where  he  had  become  an  expert  on  pearls,  claimed 
to  be  able  to  rejuvenate  pearls  which  had  lost  their  luster.  When  he  visit- 
ed New  York  in  1920,  he  also  claimed  to  be  able  to  make  silver  out  of 
lead,  and  he  gave  some  sort  of  a  demonstration  to  this  effect.  However, 
the  witnesses  were  not  convinced,  and  nothing  more  has  been  heard  of 
his  wonderful  method. 

In  January,  1920,  Policeman  Hans  Andersen  from  Brooklyn,  re- 
ceived $100  from  the  New  Yo;^  Daily  News,  as  a  reward  for  heroism 
displayed  in  getting  safely  ashore  two  Norwegians.  They  were  in  a  small 
boat  which  got  stuck  in  the  ice  outside  of  Staten  Island  and  could  not 

30Emil  Bie  in  J^ordis\  Tidende,  November  7,  1940. 
31Xordis\  Tidende,  October  30,  1919. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

get  loose.  In  rescuing  the  two  men,  Andersen  himself  was  in  clanger 
of  drowning,  as  he  fell  through  the  ice.32 

Mrs.  Oscar  W.  Bergh  (Mrs.  Aske-Bergh),  who  has  been  one  of  the 
chief  exponents  of  Norwegian  pictorial  weaving  in  America,  was  a  pupil 
of  the  famous  weaver  Frida  Hansen,  in  Stavanger.  Mrs.  Aske-Bergh  is 
the  owner  of  one  of  Mrs.  Hansen's  outstanding  weavings  "King  Sigurd 
Enters  Myklegard  (Constantinople)."  A  duplicate  hangs  in  the  royal 
palace  in  Oslo.33 

Mrs.  Marie  Astrup  Kalstad  of  Brooklyn,  is  also  known  as  a  talented 
weaver.  The  Norwegian  painter,  Nikolai  Astrup,  was  her  brother. 

Henry  Allen  Moe  is  secretary  of  the  John  Simon  Guggenheim 
Foundation,  which  every  year  awards  fellowships  to  scientists,  artists, 
teachers,  etc.  Moe  was  born  in  St.  Paul,  became  a  Rhodes  scholar,  and 
is  a  lawyer  by  education.34 

In  1924,  Police  Lieutenant  Olaf  T.  Simonstad,  had  been  on  the 
police  force  in  New  York  for  twenty  years.  Simonstad  was  also  a  Cap- 
tain in  the  military  reserve  corps. 

The  idea  of  celebrating  the  one  hundredth  anniversary  of  the  begin- 
ning of  the  modern  Norwegian  emigration  to  America  had  its  origin 
within  the  Norwegian  Lutheran  Church  of  America.  With  the  enthusi- 
astic assistance  of  other  organizations,  elaborate  steps  were  taken  to  com- 
memorate the  event  in  a  suitable  manner  in  Minneapolis  -  St.  Paul,  irom 
June  6  to  9,  1925.  Governor  Alfred  E.  Smith,  of  New  York,  appointed 
General  Charles  W.  Berry,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Arthur  V.  McDonnell, 
Major  S.  J.  Arnesen,  and  Rev.  C.  O.  Pedersen,  as  a  committee  to  repre- 
sent the  State  of  New  York  at  the  Norse-American  Centennial.  And 
the  Governor  of  New  Jersey  designated  P.  M.  Andersen  and  Rev.  A. 
Bergh  to  represent  the  State  of  New  Jersey  in  a  like  capacity. 

The  United  States  Congress  had  taken  notice  of  the  event  by  order- 
ing minted  40,000  memorial  half  dollar  coins,  and  the  Post  Office  printed 
a  two-cent  stamp  with  the  picture  of  a  Viking  ship  and  a  five-cent  stamp 
carrying  the  picture  of  the  sloop,  Restaiaationen. 

S2Hordis\  Tidende,  February  5,  1920. 
S37^ordis\  Tidende,  January  22,  1925. 
st'Kordisi  Tidende,  March  26,  1925. 

Miscellaneous  Items 


It  was  of  course  impossible  for  a  large  number  of  people  in  the  East 
to  take  part  in  the  festivities  so  far  away.  Therefore  virtually  all  the  or- 
ganizations in  Brooklyn  and  New  York  and  neighborhood  agreed  to 
join  hands  in  arranging  a  local  program  to  fit  the  occasion.  Fred  Werner 
became  chairman  of  the  committee;  Olaf  Nilsen,  ist  vice-chairman; 
Helen  Olausen,  2nd  vice-chairman;  Paul  Wiig,  secretary;  Theo.  Karte- 
vold  and  A.  Stolt,  treasurers;  Edw.  Choland,  financial  secretary. 

The  first  part  of  these  festivities  was  the  reception  given  to  the 
Norwegian  Student  Chorus,  with  Betty  Lagerkrantz  Sorkness,  chairman, 
and  Lector  Alfred  Russ,  conductor.  Lector  Rolf  Pande  became  chair- 
man later  on.  The  following  committee  was  appointed  to  give  the  sing- 
ers a  proper  reception:  Dr.  P.  A.  Reque,  committee  of  the  whole;  A.  N. 
Rygg,  chairman  of  the  entertainment  committee;  S.  J.  Arnesen,  chair- 
man of  the  housing  committee.  The  singers  arrived  on  Saturday,  May 
1 6,  and  were  housed  with  private  families.  Next  day,  Sunday,  May  17, 
they  sang  at  the  great  festival  in  the  Academy  of  Music  and  they  re- 
ceived the  total  net  income  from  the  affair.  Arne  Kildal  was  the  main 
speaker  on  this  occasion. 

Sunday  evening  at  a  dinner  given  in  honor  of  the  singers  at  the 
Hotel  St.  George,  there  were  950  people  present.  Anton  Wetlesen  was 
toastmaster,  and  a  beautiful  speech  was  delivered  by  the  poet,  Nils 
Collett  Vogt.  The  visiting  singers  were  also  received  by  Major  John  F. 
Hylan  at  City  Hall  and  were  taken  out  on  sightseeing  trips,  by  auto- 
mobiles and  boat. 

The  large  official  delegation  from  Norway  to  the  Centennial  Cele- 
brations arrived  in  New  York,  led  by  Carl  J.  Hambro,  President  of  the 
Storting;  Lars  Oftedal,  Cabinet  member;  Professor  Fredrik  Stang;  Min- 
ister Wilhelm  Morgenstierne,  then  in  the  Foreign  Office  in  Norway,  and 
other  prominent  people.  They  were  tendered  a  luncheon  in  the  Univer- 
sity Club  by  Commander  John  A.  Gade,  chairman  of  the  reception  com- 
mittee. The  next  day,  E.  A.  Cappelen  Smith  extended  similar  courtesies 
to  the  visitors.  A  dinner  at  the  Norwegian  Club  was  also  given  the  visi- 
tors before  they  departed  for  Minneapolis. 

The  celebration  of  the  Centennial  in  New  York  took  place  on 
October  9,  10  and  11,  and  consisted  of  a  large  folk  festival  in  an  armory 
in  New  York  City.  Minister  Helmer  Bryn,  Roald  Amundsen,  and 
Lincoln  Ellsworth  were  among  the  speakers;  a  mammoth  banquet  at 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

the  Hotel  St.  George,  with  Congressman  O.  J.  Kvale,  O.  P.  B.  Jacobsen 
and  Professor  Gisle  Bothne  among  the  guests  of  honor.  A  divine  ser- 
vice was  held  in  the  Academy  of  Music,  conducted  by  Bishop  Petersen 
from  Stavanger  and  Bishop  Nordby  of  the  Eastern  district  of  the  Nor- 
wegian Lutheran  Church  in  America.  A  performance  of  the  old  and 
popular  song-play  Fjellcvcntyret  was  staged  by  Borgny  Hammer,  with 
Ole  Windingstad  in  charge  of  the  orchestra.  A  prologue  for  the  occasion 
was  written  by  Franklin  Pettersen.  It  should  also  be  mentioned  that 
Andreas  Baardsen,  the  metal  artist,  had  made  a  Centennial  button  show- 
ing the  sloop  Restaurationen  speeding  along  in  a  good  breeze.  This  but- 
ton was  sold  by  the  Committee. 

The  whole  festival  from  first  to  last  was  a  credit  to  the  Nor- 
wegians of  New  York.35 

35Hordis\  Tidende,  December  18,  1924;  January  29,  February  19,  April  16, 
May  14,  21,  28,  June  4,  July  2,  August  7.  September  17,  October  15.  192?. 



|  N  1 91 6,  2,532  Norwegian  Ships  arrived  in  harbors  of  the  United  States 
■  as  against  2,932  the  previous  year.  In  1916,  846  Norwegian  ships  ar- 
rived in  New  York — 767  steamships,  19  full-rigged  ships  and  60  barks. 
On  the  sixth  of  May  that  year,  there  were  47  Norwegian  ships  in  New 
York  Harbor — 12  sailing  vessels  and  35  steamers  with  crews  of  about 
1500  men.1 

Earlier  in  this  history,  it  has  been  mentioned  that  about  the  year 
1880,  in  what  has  been  regarded  as  the  Golden  Age  of  Norwegian  ship- 
ping in  New  York,  some  1200  Norwegian  ships  called  at  this  port  during 
one  year.  This  looks,  indeed,  very  imposing,  as  far  as  the  number  of 
ships  is  concerned;  but  it  must  be  remembered  that  the  ships  were  of 
such  small  tonnage  that  the  total  would  not  amount  to  half  a  million 
tons.  It  will,  therefore,  be  interesting  to  compare  this  carrying  capacity 
with  the  tonnage  now  employed.  The  statistics  inform  us  that,  in  1934, 
453  Norwegian  ships,  with  a  total  net  tonnage  of  1,040,440  tons,  visited 
New  York;  in  1935,  553  ships,  total  tonnage  1,240,433  tons;  in  1936,  645 
ships,  total  tonnage  1,518,884  tons;  in  1937,  725  ships,  total  tonnage 
1,709,245  tons;  in  1938,  673  ships,  total  tonnage,  1,698,239  tons.  Thus 
it  will  appear  that  the  Norwegian  tonnage  employed  nowadays  in  traffic 
on  New  York  is  three  or  four  times  as  large  as  in  the  days  of  long  ago. 
Let  us  pursue  this  a  little  further.  If  we  assume  that  the  average  crew 
on  board  the  small  Norwegian  barks  of  1880  numbered  12  men,  we  have 
a  total  of  14,400  men  on  1,200  ships.  An  average  crew  nowadays  num- 
bers 35  men,  which  on  the  673  ships  of  1938  would  give  a  total  of 
23»555  men-2 

For  the  year  1939,  some  interesting  statistics  have  been  prepared  by 
the  Consul  General  of  Norway  at  New  York.  The  only  two  nations  that 

Wordisk  Tidende,  May  11,  1916;  January  11,  March  8,  1917. 
2Rygg,  Norwegian  Sailors'  Home. 



Norwegians  in  New  York 

exceed  Norway  in  the  number  of  arrivals  of  ships  in  the  Port  of  New 
York  are  Great  Britain — 1285  ships  and  6,643,574  tons — and  the  Nether- 
lands— 406  ships  and  2,169,919  tons.  The  last  named  country  is  outstrip- 
ping Norway  because  of  a  number  of  large  passenger  boats  with  frequent 
arrivals  in  New  York.  But  as  far  as  cargo  carrying  is  concerned,  Norway 
is  ahead  with  777  ships  against  406.  The  Norwegian  tonnage  which 
came  to  New  York  in  1939  was  2,127,705  tons. 

Foreigners  will  no  doubt  find  it  rather  hard  to  grasp  the  fact  that  a 
nation  of  less  than  three  million  people,  i.e.,  less  than  half  the  popula- 
tion of  New  York,  in  our  days  can  maintain  its  position  as  the  world's 
third  or  fourth  greatest  shipping  nation;  and  this  despite  the  fact  that 
Norway's  shipping  lacks  the  support  offered  by  extensive  colonial  pos- 
sessions, and  that  only  a  small  part  of  the  fleet  is  able  to  find  employment 
in  traffic  to  and  from  the  home  country.  A  comprehensive  shipping  in- 
dustry is  a  necessity  for  Norway.'  As  a  matter  of  fact,  Norway  has  1480 
tons  for  every  thousand  inhabitants  to  46  tons  per  thousand  for  Great 

Finally,  a  word  about  the  standing  and  character  of  Norwegian 
shipping  on  New  York  at  the  present  day.  It  may  be  said  without  fear 
of  contradiction  that  its  reputation  is  as  high  today  as,  or  perhaps  higher 
than,  it  ever  was.  The  Norwegians  have  not  only  been  able  to  hold,  but 
to  extend  their  large  part  in  the  shipping  traffic  on  New  York.  And  the 
reason  can  be  stated  in  one  word — service.  The  ships  are  excellent.  They 
are  manned  by  able  and  conscientious  officers  and  crews  that  are  second 
to  none,  and  shippers  are  happy  to  avail  themselves  of  their  services 
whenever  required.  This  also  applies  to  the  crews  on  board  the  yachts 
along  the  Atlantic  Coast.  Norway,  with  its  tonnage  of  over  4 x/z  million 
and  its  nearly  50,000  sailors,  continues  to  hold  its  position  as  the  first 
seafaring  nation  in  the  world  (in  proportion  to  its  population)  and 
the  word  Norwegian  has  still  the  fine  old  sound  along  the  waterfronts 
of  New  York  as  in  days  of  yore.4 

For  additional  information  concerning  shipping  and  deep  sea  sailors, 
yachting  sailors,  fisheries  and  fishermen,  pilots,  ship  chandlers,  shipbuild- 
ers and  ship  brokers  and  Norwegian  seamen  in  the  American  Navy,  see 

:i7^.orway's  Export  Trade,  The  ~N.orweg\an  Shipping  Industry,  Christian  Haaland 


Along  the  Waterfront 


Professor  Knut  Gjerset's  book  on  Norwegian  Seamen  in  American 

Over  in  one  of  the  oldest  parts  of  New  York,  in  27  Coenties  Slip,  a 
40-year-old  Norwegian  is  trying  to  establish  his  magazine  Fair  Winds  on 
a  solid  financial  basis.  The  venturesome  publisher  is  William  M.  Wil- 
liamson and  his  magazine  is  the  only  one  in  America  devoted  exclusively 
to  ships  of  sail.  An  innocent  landlubber  might  think  that  everything  per- 
taining to  the  White  Sails  is  dead  and  gone,  but  Mr.  Williamson  claims 
that  there  is  still  plenty  of  romance  clinging  to  the  old  sailing  vessels  to 
make  such  a  publication  desirable.  Anyway,  he  has  selected  an  excellent 
neighborhood  for  his  purpose. 

On  the  other  side  of  Coenties  Slip  is  the  large  Seamen's  Church  In- 
stitute, where  seamen  of  all  nations  congregate,  and  nearby  is  the  famous 
South  Street,  known  to  deep  sea  sailors  for  a  hundred  years  or  more. 
Mr.  Williamson  also  collects  antiques  from  the  sea — he  has  an  old  chest 
that  has  been  around  Cape  Horn  six  times — and  a  model  of  the  lovely 
Flying  Cloud  hangs  in  his  window.  Outside  is  a  sign"  Fair  Winds  Book 

He  came  from  Grimstad  in  1905,  when  he  was  five  years  old.  His 
parents,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Thorgrim  Williamson,  live  on  Staten  Island.5 


The  firm  of  Bennett,  Hvoslef  &  Company,  which  has  been  mention- 
ed earlier  in  these  pages,  is  representing  many  Norwegian  shipowners. 
The  firm  supplies  a  large  number  of  ships  for  the  fruit  trade. 

One  of  the  oldest  concerns  of  ship  brokers,  Benham  &  Boyesen,  was 
bought  by  the  Norwegian  America  Line  more  than  twenty  years  ago  and 
is  representing  the  large  fleet  of  cargo  steamers  which  the  Line  owns. 

The  Wilhelmsen  Steamship  Line  has  a  fine  fleet  of  steamers  running 
out  of  New  York  and  has  for  many  years  found  it  necessary  to  maintain 
an  office  here.  The  manager  is  Captain  K.  Martinsen. 

Karl  Krogstad,  who  some  twenty-five  years  ago  represented  Stray 
of  Kristiansand,  now  handles  the  vessels  of  the  Steamship  Owners  Op- 
erating Company  and  is  himself  the  owner  of  a  number  of  cargo  boats. 

BMr.  Williamson  to  author. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Neptune  Shipping  Company,  T.  Mosvold  manager,  takes  care  of 
the  interests  of  Mosvold's  Rederi,  Farsund. 

The  Ivaran  Lines  are  represented  in  New  York  by  Stockard  &  Com- 
pany, Inc.,  Wroldsen  manager. 

Some  shipowners  in  Haugesund  have  formed  the  Steamship  Own- 
ers' Agency  in  New  York,  with  Hjalmar  Syvertsen  as  manager. 

Since  the  Hitler  war  broke  out,  the  Fred  Olsen  Line  has  found  it 
desirable  to  open  an  office  in  New  York. 

Of  other  firms  which  represent  Norwegian  shipping  interests  may 
be  mentioned:  Isbrandtsen,  M0ller  Company,  with  Captain  Christensen 
as  port  captain;  Albert  E.  Bowen;  Funch,  Edye  &  Company,  Inc.;  Bow- 
ring  &  Company;  J.  H.  Winchester  &  Company;  Blidberg,  Rothchild 
Company;  J.  F.  Whitten;  Smith  &  Johnson;  Simpson,  Spencer  &  Young; 
Boyd,  Weir  and  Sewell,  Inc.;  Dichmann,  Wright  &  Pugh,  Inc. 

The  old  firm  of  shipbrokers,  George  Helliesen,  Inc.,  went  out  of 
business  when  Helliesen  died  about  1927.  Helliesen  was  from  Stavanger 
and  came  to  New  York  as  a  boy. 

B.  &  N.  Line,  Inc.,  (The  Bergenske  Steamship  Company)  maintains 
an  office  in  New  York  for  its  Norway  cruises,  with  Stella  Polaris  and 

The  firm  of  Harris,  Hendricksen  &  Company,  which  was  organized 
nearly  twenty  years  ago,  is  now  owned  by  B.  C.  Bendixen  and  P.  T. 

Alfred  Andersen  &  Company — Alfred  Andersen  and  Egil  Bergen- 
dahl — has  been  in  business  since  1914. 

Arvid  Wiik  and  Lamberg  are  with  Baker,  Carver  &  Morrell  Ship 
Supplies,  Inc. 

Coston  Supply  Co.,  Inc.,  is  represented  by  Knut  Stormyhr. 
Captain  W.  Rasmussen  supplies  ships  with  water. 
Haakon  W.  Ramberg  furnishes  ship  repairs. 
Arnessen  Electric  Company  does  electric  work. 


In  1925  Ask  Brynhildsen,  a  young  Norwegian  sailor  from  near 
Bergen,  was  awarded  the  gold  medal  of  the  New  York  Life  Saving  Ben- 
evolent Society  and  one  hundred  dollars  in  cash  for  brilliant  and  heroic 

Along  the  Waterfront 


action,  when  the  sloop  Shanghai  was  wrecked  and  smashed  against  the 
rocks  at  Canso  on  Newfoundland.  The  husky  Norwegian  saved  the 
three  men  on  board,  Judge  De  Witt  Wells,  his  son  and  another  Ameri- 
can, one  after  the  other,  and  found  shelter  for  them,  although  he  had 
to  search  for  many  hours  before  he  reached  people.6 

Chief  Engineer  Carl  Jakobsen,  on  board  the  American  steamer  Alan- 
thus,  effected  in  1920  a  rescue  in  an  original  manner.  The  submarine 
S-5  had  sunk  outside  the  Delaware  Capes  and  remained  standing  with 
her  nose  on  the  bottom  and  her  stern  sticking  out  of  the  water.  The  37 
men  on  board  were  trapped  and  were  slowly  being  suffocated,  when  the 
Alanthus  came  upon  the  scene.  Jakobsen  succeeded  in  cutting  through 
the  steel  plates  and  freeing  the  men.  For  his  clever  and  quick  action, 
Jakobsen  received  a  gold  watch  and  a  laudatory  letter  from  the  Navy 
Department.  He  lived  at  the  time  in  Newark,  N.  J.7 

Captain  Ole  G.  Olsen  was  a  well-known  figure  along  the  waterfront 
of  New  York  and  Brooklyn.  In  1915  he  established  the  Olsen  Water 
and  Towing  Line  Company,  which  he  carried  on  until  his  death  in  1937, 
when  the  business  went  over  to  his  son,  John  G.  Olsen.  Captain  Olsen 
was  born  in  Krager0.  He  was  for  many  years  a  member  of  the  board  of 
directors  of  the  Norwegian  Sailors'  Home. 

Captain  Conrad  Mathiasen  from  Stokke,  near  T0nsberg,  is  also  the 
president  of  a  towing  company. 

Captain  Anton  Peterson,  who  celebrated  his  80th  birthday  in  May, 
1941,  was  born  in  Stavanger,  Norway,  and  came  as  a  young  man  to 
Portland,  Maine.  He  served  for  many  years  as  pilot  and  captain  on  large 
passenger  steamers  on  the  Atlantic  Coast.8 

A  well-known  captain,  L.  Morten  Jensen  from  Lillesand,  served  on 
board  American  vessels  as  able  seaman  and  mate.  He  advanced  rapidly 
to  the  rank  of  captain.  At  the  time  of  the  revolution  in  Venezuela  in 
1 90 1  and  1902,  when  he  was  captain  of  the  blockade  runner  Mazanaras, 
he  was  captured  and  imprisoned  for  a  year  in  the  city  of  Angustura. 
Later,  Jensen  was  captain  in  the  service  of  the  Luckenbach  Company  and 
employed  in  the  passenger  traffic  between  New  York  and  Genoa.  In 
1905  the  Philippine  Government  appointed  Jensen  inspector  for  the 

cDr.  Wells'  book  on  the  trip  of  the  Shanghai. 
~T<lordisl{  Tidende,  November  4,  1920. 
sS\andinaven,  April  29,  1941. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

whole  archipelago.  When  he  returned  to  the  United  States  twelve  years 
later,  he  was  appointed  marine  superintendent  at  Newport  News,  Va., 
by  the  United  States  Shipping  Board.  In  1922  he  became  a  stevedore 
and  contractor  in  New  York.9 

Captain  Otto  Svendsen,  who  lives  in  Brooklyn,  is  master  of  the 
Angelina  of  the  Bull  Steamship  Company,  plying  between  New  York 
and  Puerto  Rico  and  other  islands  in  the  Caribbean.  Svendsen  served  as 
a  young  man,  from  16  to  20,  on  a  windjammer  and  took  to  steam  when 
the  white  sails  disappeared  from  the  ocean. 

On  February  10,  1940,  in  the  North  Atlantic,  the  Norwegian  steam- 
er Mosdale  saved  twelve  seamen  from  the  English  ship  Sea  Rambler. 
The  Life  Saving  Benevolent  Association  of  New  York  awarded  Captain 
J.  Stave  a  gold  medal,  Second  Mate  Thor  Bille,  who  commanded  the  life- 
boat, a  silver  medal,  Boatswain  Ludvig  Olsen  and  Seamen  Thor  Carlsen, 
Nils  Kaldefoss,  Reidar  Woll,  Bendik  Myklebust,  Ole  Endal  and  Arne 
Johnsen  bronze  medals  and  $50  each. 

Captain  Carl  Gundersen  is  master  of  the  Tusitala,  which  is  the  last 
full-rigged  merchant  sailing  vessel  to  fly  the  American  flag.  It  is  owned 
by  the  United  States  Maritime  Commission  and  will  be  used  to  train 
American  merchant  seamen. 

Captain  Nels  Helgesen  was  born  in  Norway  fifty  years  ago  and 
came  to  the  United  States  when  he  was  fifteen  years  old.  He  has  been 
captain  with  the  Porto  Rico  Line  for  twenty-one  years  and  was  trans- 
ferred in  1939  to  the  new  liner  Coamo.10 

Of  other  Norwegian  Captains  who  are  in  command  of  American 
ships  in  1940  may  be  mentioned  Alfred  M.  Gronli,  in  charge  of  the  S.  S. 
Comet,  and  John  Stolan,  in  charge  of  the  S.  S.  Challenge,  both  of  the 
Adantic,  Gulf  and  West  Indies  Steamship  Lines;  and  Captain  A.  O. 
j0rgensen  from  Arendal,  in  charge  of  the  S.  S.  Vdle  de  Liege. 

Capt.  Olaf  M.  Hustvedt,  from  Decorah,  Iowa,  holds  the  highest  rank 
attained  by  any  Norwegian  in  the  Navy.  He  was,  in  1940,  made  com- 
mander of  the  new  35,000-ton  battleship  North  Carolina.  The  captain 
graduated  in  1906  from  Luther  College  and  served  as  a  naval  officer  in 
the  World  War.  His  father,  Rev.  H.  B.  Hustvedt,  was  a  pastor  in  the 

9J-lordmixn,d  i  de  Forenede  Stater,  62. 
"New  ^or\  Times,  July  17,  1939. 

Along  the  Waterfront 


Norwegian  Lutheran  Church  of  America.  Captain  Hustvedt  has  now 
become  a  Read  Admiral. 

Captain  John  O.  Ottesen  of  the  American  Scantic  Line  freighter 
Mormactide  was  born  in  Buenos  Ayres  oi  Norwegian  parents.  He  be- 
came an  American  citizen  in  1921,  and  has  the  rank  of  lieutenant  com- 
mander in  the  United  States  Naval  Reserve.  He  went  to  sea  in  191 3, 
and  has  been  a  captain  since  1 931. 11 

Captain  Ole  Johannesen,  Atlantic  coastal  pilot  of  the  American 
Hawaiian  Steamship  Company,  died  in  March,  1940,  in  Newton,  Mass. 
He  was  born  in  Norway.  In  accordance  with  his  request,  his  ashes  were 
scattered  on  the  sea,  off  Montauk  Point,  Long  Island. 

Captain  N.  Kvande  was  born  in  Kristiansund,  Norway,  in  May, 
1876.  He  went  to  sea  at  the  age  of  fifteen,  came  to  America  in  1909,  and 
became  mate  and  later  captain  of  steamers  of  the  Ward  Line.  During 
the  World  War  he  was  a  lieutenant  commander  in  the  United  States 
Navy,  serving  on  ships  running  between  American  and  French  ports. 
From  1920  to  1924  he  was  marine  superintendent  for  the  Atlantic  and 
Gulf  Oil  Corporation  and  after  that  marine  superintendent  for  the  Inter- 
national Shipping  Corporation.  Captain  Kvande  lives  in  Brooklyn.12 

Captain  Oscar  Bull,  born  in  T0nsberg,  was  in  1898  master  of  the 
steamer  Hidalgo  of  the  Ward  Line.13 

Captain  Samuel  Harris,  born  in  T0nsberg  in  1833,  came  to  New 
York  in  1881  and  carried  on  a  stevedore  business  and  later  a  ship  chand- 

Peter  Paulsen  was  born  in  Arendal  in  1 871,  and  settled  in  New  York 
in  1893,  after  having  been  a  seaman  for  some  years.  He  was  for  35  years 
a  member  of  the  Maritime  Exchange  and  carried  on  a  business  in  Manila 
rope  and  steel  rope,  under  the  name  of  the  Paulsen  Trading  Company. 
Paulsen  introduced  Norwegian  steel  rope  on  the  American  market.  He 
died  in  1940  and  the  business  is  now  carried  on  by  his  son,  Fredrik 

One  of  the  Norwegians  who  has  served  for  a  long  time  in  the 
United  States  Coast  Guard  is  Captain  Christie  T.  Christiansen,  born  in 

^J^ordisX  Tidende,  November  16,  1939. 
12Gjerset,  T^orwegian  Sailors,  p.  88. 
13Hordis\  Tidende,  December  29,  1898. 
i4T<lordi$k  Tidende,  August  17,  1911. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Brooklyn,  but  now  stationed  in  Charleston,  S.  C.  He  is  44  years  old,  and 
served  as  a  Lieutenant  in  the  Naval  Reserve  during  the  World  War.  His 
parents,  Thorvald  Christiansen  and  Inga  Munson  Christiansen,  emi- 
grated from  Kristiansand. 

Captain  Marcus  Marcussen,  master  of  the  Isthmian  Steamship  Com- 
pany's steamer,  Steel  Exporter,  died  in  September,  1941,  53  years  of  age. 
He  was  a  Lieutenant  Commander  in  the  United  States  Naval  Reserve. 
His  home  was  in  Ruthertord,  N.J. 

In  1922  a  Swede  by  name  Swenson,  came  to  New  York  to  start  in 
the  business  of  removing  rust  from  steamers,  boilers,  etc.,  with  an  electric 
hammer.  He  had  with  him  a  28-foot  boat  Hindu  with  oil  motor  and 
dynamo.  Swenson  was  not  able  to  obtain  contracts,  and  he  therefore  sold 
the  boat  with  equipment  to  B.  S.  Bendixen,  who  for  years  had  been  in 
the  same  business.  Bendixen  used  the  boat  for  a  while,  but  he  did  not 
find  it  serviceable  and  sent  it  to  Even  Olsen,  the  boatbuilder,  at  Sheeps- 
head  Bay,  to  have  it  sold. 

Great  was  Olsen's  astonishment  when  he  discovered  that  he  had 
before  him  an  old  and  dear  friend,  a  boat  which  his  father  in  Arendal 
had  owned  55  years  before.  It  was  then  called  Morgenrfiden.  There  were 
certain  unmistakable  marks  on  the  boat  which  made  Olsen  certain.  His 
father  had  used  the  boat  for  carrying  produce  to  the  market  in  Arendal. 
Many  dear  memories  from  childhood  were  connected  with  the  boat, 
which  naturally  was  bought  by  Olsen.15 


In  1927  the  Neptune  Association  of  New  York  inaugurated  the 
International  Lifeboat  Races,  to  take  place  annually  at  the  beginning  of 
September  in  the  harbor  of  New  York.  For  some  years  it  looked  as  if 
nothing  could  stand  up  against  Norwegian  rowers.  The  boat  crew  from 
the  Norwegian  steamers  Segundo  and  Sud  Americano  won  first  place  in 
1927  and  1929,  respectively.  Then  the  Norwegian  America  Line  won 
three  times  in  succession — Stavangerjjord  in  1930  and  1931,  and  Bergens- 
fjoid  in  1932 — and  the  Line  was  awarded  the  Todd  Cup.  But  since  then 
luck  has  consistently  been  against  the  Norwegian  colors.  The  reason  may 
be  that  the  winning  crews  are  trained  and  picked  athletes,  ready  to  put 

1^N.ordisk  Tidende,  September  11,  1924. 

Along  the  Waterfront 


forth  their  whole  strength  in  a  comparatively  short  haul,  while  the  Nor- 
wegian rowers  are  sailors  doing  their  regular  work  aboard  their  ship, 
and  having  but  little  time  for  training  before  the  race. 


It  is  quite  natural  that  the  Norwegians,  familiar  as  they  are  with 
fishing  and  sailing,  should  play  a  prominent  part  in  supplying  the  New 
York  housewife  with  what  is  required  in  the  line  of  sea  food.  It  has,  in 
fact,  been  said  that  the  greater  part  of  the  fish  brought  to  the  Fulton 
Market  in  New  York  is  caught  by  Norwegian  fishermen.  They  bring 
in  codfish,  flounders,  sole,  weakfish,  butterfish,  and  also  scallops.  They 
do  not  bother  much  with  mackerel  and  bluefish,  which  yield  little  profit, 
but  they  supply  almost  any  other  kind  of  eatable  fish.  The  mackerel  and 
its  cousin,  the  bluefish,  are,  to  a  considerable  extent,  caught  by  Italians 
and  Greeks. 

A  good  many  of  the  Norwegian  fishermen  are  from  Skudesness,  but 
in  the  boat  crews  men  from  a  hundred  places  along  the  Norwegian  coast 
are  to  be  found.  At  least  fifty  modern,  ocean-going  motor  boats  are 
owned  by  Norwegians.  Of  these  about  twenty  have  their  home  station 
at  Sheepshead  Bay  and  some  thirty  at  Gravesend  Bay  (Ulmer  Park). 
From  these  stations  there  is  only  a  comparatively  short  distance  to  the 
open  sea,  which  means  the  Atlantic.  Most  of  the  fishing  is  done  outside 
the  New  Jersey  coast.  These  boats  are,  as  a  rule,  equipped  with  radio 
apparatus,  so  that  the  fishermen  can  maintain  contact  with  their  families. 

Following  is  a  list  of  twenty-six  boats  having  their  home  at  Graves- 
end  Bay.  This  list  has  been  furnished  by  Captain  Wm,  Lind,  a  Norwe- 
gian, who  owns  the  Gravesend  Marine  Supplies. 

Norseman,  Capt.  Chris.  Endresen  Sea  King,  Capt.  Sigurd  Jacobsen 

Venture,  Capt.  Karl  Karlsen  Vising,  Capt.  T.  Andreassen 

Gloria  F.,  Capt.  Elias  S0rensen  Mary,  Capt.  Georg  Olsen 

Gyda  Else,  Capt.  Karl  j0rgensen  Mary  Ellen,  Capt.  Albert  West 

Doris  Gertrude,  Capt.  S.  Sandve  O.  Williams,  Capt.  S.  Jacobsen 

Anna  O.,  Capt.  Lars  Johansen  Serina  II,  Capt.  Karl  Tobiassen 

Julia  K.,  Capt.  Johan  Johansen  Trio,  Capt.  Tom  Jonassen 

Anna  S.,  Capt.  Paul  Bentsen  Peerless,  Capt.  Magnus  Davidsen 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Eleanore  0.,  Capt.  Bjorhcim 
New  Dawn,  Capt.  T.  T0nnesen 
Senepe,  Capt.  Anleif  Week 
Antonina,  Capt.  E.  Rasmussen 

Mary,  Capt.  Knut  Hokonson 

Dagmar,  Capt.  Axel  Hoines 

Dagny,  Capt.  Bjarne  Stanga 

Malvina  B.,  Capt.  Joseph  Isacsen 

Mane  Eleanore,  Capt.  Isacsen 

Gustav  Moen,  Brooklyn,  is  said  to  be  one  of  the  oldest  and  widest 
known  fishermen  on  the  Atlantic  coast.  Moen  has  published  a  collection 
of  poems,  which,  in  a  versified  form,  tells  of  the  fisheries  outside  of 
New  York. 


Ever  since  Captain  Nils  Olsen  was  superintendent  of  the  New  York 
Yacht  Club  some  fifty  years  ago,  the  Norwegian  yacht  sailors  have  en- 
joyed a  high  reputation  along  the  Atlantic  Coast.  It  is  very  true  that 
they  have  today  no  such  racing  stars  as  Chris  Christensen  from  Arendal 
and  Gustav  Gautesen  from  Haugesund  (both  dead),  but  man  for  man 
they  are  second  to  none,  and  their  reputation  remains  as  high  as  ever. 
They  know  their  business  and  you  can  always  depend  on  them. 

It  may  be,  perhaps,  that  there  are  not  quite  so  many  Norwegians  on 
board  the  yachts  as  there  used  to  be  years  ago.  The  restricted  immigra- 
tion has  made  itself  felt  and  the  requirement  of  citizenship  makes  things 
less  easy  than  formerly.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  yachts  over  a  certain  size 
are  subject  to  the  same  rules  and  regulations  as  ships  in  the  Merchant 

Since  1939,  when  the  war  broke  out  between  England  and  Germany, 
and  since  America  began  to  arm  on  a  large  scale,  a  number  of  the  large 
yachts — approximately  100 — have  been  sold  to  the  Canadian  Govern- 
ment and  to  the  United  States  Navy,  to  be  used  for  war  purposes.  The 
Diesel  yacht  Sumar,  owned  by  Dr.  Whitney,  Chicago,  and  commanded 
by  Barney  Madsen  from  Bergen,  went  to  Canada.  The  Migrant,  owned 
by  Edward  Tucker,  and  for  years  commanded  by  Gustav  Gautesen,  and 
Atlantic,  Captain  Aasen,  both  steam  and  sail,  went  to  the  U.  S.  Govern- 
ment. Georg  Unger  Vetlesen  gave  his  yacht  Vema  to  the  U.  S.  Maritime 
Commission  to  be  used  as  a  training  ship.  She  had  a  Diesel  motor  and 
was  a  three-masted  schooner,  as  were  the  others  mentioned  above.  J.  P. 
Morgan,  the  banker,  sold  his  yacht  Corsair  to  England.  The  sale  of  a 
number  of  such  large  yachts,  of  course,  made  many  sailors  lose  their 

Along  the  Waterfront 


jobs,  but,  instead,  there  was  plenty  of  work  to  be  had  in  the  shipyards, 
which  were  running  full  steam. 

Of  Norwegian  yacht  captains  may  be  mentioned  Peter  Johansen 
from  Arendal  on  board  Hugh  Chisholm's  Aras  (Sara  in  reverse);  Chris 
Christensen  is  captain  of  Thomas  Lamont's  85-foot  power  boat.  The 
three  brothers,  Teddy,  Otto  and  Sam  Thorsen  are  each  captain  of  a  12- 
meter,  and  in  Long  Island  Sound  there  are  any  number  of  Norwe- 
gians to  be  found  on  the  yachts  and  racing  boats.  Most  of  the  Scandina- 
vian yacht  sailors  are  Norwegians;  there  are  some  Swedes,  and  a  small 
number  of  Danes  and  Finns. 

Captain  Unneberg  from  Sandefjord  was  for  many  years  superintend- 
ent at  the  New  York  Yacht  Club  station  at  Glen  Cove,  L.  I.  Now,  Cap- 
tain Gundersen  is  in  charge.  At  the  Manhasset  Yacht  Club,  Port  Wash- 
ington, L.  L,  Leif  Dahle,  from  Bergen,  is  the  superintendent. 

Charles  K.  Jenssen,  who  had  been  a  seafaring  man  all  his  life,  mostly 
as  a  yacht  captain,  died  August  29,  1941,  in  Mystic,  Conn.  Captain  Jens- 
sen  was  born  in  Norway.16 

The  most  prominent  American  yachtsman  nowadays  is  Harold 
Vanderbilt,  who,  in  the  international  races  in  1934  and  1937,  defeated 
Lipton  and  Sopwith.  His  boats  were  Rainbow  and  Ranger  and  most  of 
his  crew  were  Norwegians.  Many  boat  owners  prefer  Norwegians,  if 
they  can  get  them.17 

16Ne^  Yor\  Times,  August  30,  1941. 

17The  yachting  information  has  been  supplied  by  Harald  Hansen  from  Harstad, 
who  has  had  22  years'  experience  on  yachts.  He  was  chief  officer  on  board 
Vema,  and  is  still  on  board  the  same  ship  as  boatswain  and  sailing  instructor 
under  the  U.  S.  Government. 



THE  State  of  New  Jersey  lies  across  the  Hudson  River  from  New 
York,  and  the  eastern  part  of  it  is  often  regarded  as  belonging  to  the 
Metropolitan  area.  A  large  number  of  Norwegians  are  living  in  this 
section  of  the  State  and  in  the  counties  along  the  Hudson  River. 

In  Orange,  Essex  County,  New  Jersey,  Enok  Bore  from  Stavanger 
was  the  first  Norwegian  settler.  He  arrived  there  in  1872.  Next  after 
him  came  Sigvart  Pedersen  from  Stavanger,  one  Halvorsen  from  Oslo, 
and  Ludvig  Oftedal  and  Reinert  Rolfsen.  Later  on  came  T.  B.,  A.,  and 
R.  Opsahl,  T.  Oftedal  and  Emanuel  Seland,  all  from  Lyngdal.  Most  of 
these  were  employed  in  the  hat  factories.1 

The  Norwegians  started  to  settle  in  Jersey  City  and  Hoboken  in 
the  late  Eighties  and  the  majority  at  that  time  were  employed  in  the 
shipyards  of  Tietjen  and  Lang,  where  Norwegian  workers  were  pre- 

The  oldest  church  in  Hoboken  was  the  Norwegian  Free  Church, 
organized  by  Rev.  J.  H.  Meyer  in  1890.  The  congregation  remained  in 
Hoboken  for  44  years  and  then  moved  to  Teaneck,  where  it  has  built  a 
fine  roomy  church.  The  present  pastor  is  H.  C.  Andersen.  A  little  later 
the  same  year,  the  Trinity  Scandinavian  Church  made  its  appearance, 
with  Thord  Einarsen,  Tobias  Haavardsen  and  Anton  E.  Olsen  among 
the  first  members.  The  congregation  was  for  some  14  years  served  by 
Rev.  H.  M.  Gundersen,  now  Lutheran  City  Missionary  in  Brooklyn.  The 
present  pastor  is  Rev.  C.  A.  Davick. 

Thord  Einarsen  and  his  brother,  Ivar,  were  among  the  oldest  settlers 
in  Hoboken.  They  were  from  near  Trondheim;  otherwise  most  of  the 
Norwegians  came  from  southern  Norway.  Among  well-known  Norwe- 
gians in  the  district  may  be  mentioned  Gunnar  Nilsen,  Ole  Andersen, 

1Ulvestad,  J^ordmj:nd  i  Amen\a. 


From  Various  Localities 


Tom  Johnsen,  Nils  T.  Hansen  and  the  dentist,  Nils  Bakke.  In  later 
years  there  has  been  a  great  exodus  from  Hoboken  to  West  Hoboken, 
Union  Hill,  North  Bergen,  Teaneck,  and  other  small  towns.  In  Union 
Hill,  Rev.  T.  J.  Alvestad  is  pastor  of  the  St.  Olaf  Lutheran  Congregation. 

Mrs.  Julie  Reiersen  came  with  her  husband,  Mathias  Reiersen,  to 
Hoboken  nearly  fifty  years  ago.  They  became  at  once  members  of  the 
newly  organized  Scandinavian  Lutheran  Church,  where  for  fifteen  years 
she  was  president  of  the  Ladies'  Auxiliary.  She  is  now  85  years  old  and 
lives  at  the  Eger  Old  People's  Home  on  Staten  Island. 

The  oldest  institution  in  Jersey  City  is  the  Sick  Benefit  Society 
Norge,  which  was  formed  about  1887  and  is  still  strong.  The  Norwegian 
Glee  Club,  Ole  Windingstad  conductor,  enjoyed  for  many  years  a  high 
reputation,  but  most  of  the  members  belong  now  to  the  male  chorus 
Echo.  Several  lodges  of  Sons  of  Norway  are  to  be  found  in  communities 
fairly  close  to  the  Hudson  River:  Freya,  in  Jersey  City  (organized  1912); 
Norges  Lys,  in  Elizabeth;  Viking,  in  Ridgefield  Park;  Leif  Erikson,  in 

In  1891  the  Scandinavian  Lutheran  Church  was  established  in  Jersey 
City.  The  organization  took  place  in  the  home  of  Tom  Abrahamsen, 
and  four  of  the  founders  were  still  living  in  1941,  when  the  congregation 
celebrated  its  50th  anniversary:  A.  J.  Anderson,  Rutherford,  N.  J.;  A.  M. 
Axelsen,  Jersey  City;  Robert  Anderson,  Brooklyn,  and  N.  Thompsen, 
Long  Island.  During  these  fifty  years  the  congregation  has  been  served 
by  eight  ministers:  Gramstad,  Schive,  Hovde,  Dietrichson,  Romness, 
Bergh,  Birkelo,  and  the  present  minister,  Rev.  J.  H.  Preus.  Mr.  Dietrich- 
son,  who  was  born  in  Stavanger  in  1849,  served  from  1898  until  his 
death  in  1920.  Mr.  Preus  came  to  the  congregation  in  1930.  The  new 
church  was  built  in  1922.2  Mr.  Dietrichson  was  in  1882  in  San  Fran- 
cisco, the  founder  of  Bien,  which  he  published  until  1890  as  an  illustrated 
weekly.  Under  new  ownership  it  became  a  regular  Danish  newspaper 
which  still  exists. 

Henry  A.  Dahlen,  one  of  the  prominent  Norwegians  in  Jersey  City, 
New  Jersey,  was  born  in  New  Ulm,  Minn.,  and  came  at  an  early  age  to 
St.  Paul,  where  he  was  employed  by  the  Deslauriers  Steel  Mould  Com- 
pany. This  firm,  of  which  he  later  became  president  and  manager,  sent 
him  to  Jersey  City,  to  take  care  of  the  business  in  the  East.  Mr.  Dahlen 

27<[ordis\  Tidende,  May  1,  1941. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

also  has  been  general  manager  of  a  large  resort,  named  "Lutherland",  in 
the  Pocono  Mountains. 

Otto  Goetzke,  born  in  Steinkjaer,  Norway,  and  now  the  owner  of 
Church  and  Company,  Newark,  N.  J.,  is  an  expert  on  diamonds  and 
precious  stones  of  all  kinds.  He  owns  a  library  of  3,000  books  dealing 
exclusively  with  jewels,  and  this  knowledge  stands  Mr.  Goetzke  in  good 
stead.  His  firm  is  the  manufacturer  of  fine  rings  with  precious  stones.  He 
has  a  large  collection  of  such  stones  from  all  corners  of  the  globe. 

E.  A.  Pettersen  was  born  in  Fredriksstad,  Norway,  and  came  to  the 
United  States  in  1908.  He  is  the  owner  of  the  Passaic-Bergen  Lumber 
Company  in  Passaic.  The  company  has  branches  in  various  neighboring 

Among  the  veterans  in  Elizabeth,  N.  J.,  may  be  mentioned  Mrs. 
Josefine  Gabrielsen,  who  arrived  about  1888;  Mrs.  Johanne  Sivertsen, 
Valborg  Gabrielsen,  Emma  Hansen,  Martin  Ellingsen,  Louis  Larsen, 
1888;  Fred  Pedersen,  the  Brown  family,  Charles  Pedersen,  Andy  Chris- 
tiansen, Christ  Samuelsen,  Salvesen,  Gunnar  Reiersen,  Tom  Henriksen, 
Boye,  Mrs.  Hoist.  The  Norwegians  here  have  a  fine  Lutheran  Church. 
Many  of  them  have  in  later  years  moved  to  Roselle,  Westfield  and  other 
towns.  At  one  time  Roselle  was  called  Little  Norway  or  Square  Head 
Town.  Scandia  Heights  near  Westfield  was  founded  by  Haakon  Ander- 
sen in  1898. 

Civil  Engineer  Anton  L.  Pettersen  in  Passaic,  New  Jersey,  was  in 
1902  elected  member  of  the  Legislature.  He  was  born  in  Bergen  in  1867, 
and  he  came  to  America  when  20  years  old.s 

In  June,  1925,  the  Berkely  Heights  Development  Corporation  in 
Summit,  New  Jersey,  offered  to  donate  land  for  a  school  building  and 
a  college  provided  that  the  Norwegian  people  would  establish  and  main- 
tain such  an  institution.  The  offer  came  through  a  real  estate  man  by 
name  Andrew  Shulsen,  but  the  public  felt  that  there  was  no  need  for 
such  a  college  and  that  there  would  not  be  sufficient  financial  support. 

Captain  John  Stousland,  who  lives  in  Rutherford,  New  Jersey,  was 
during  the  World  War  a  Commander  in  the  American  Navy  and  master 
of  the  freighter  Liberty  Glo.  One  stormy  day  in  the  North  Sea  in  1919, 
the  ship  struck  a  mine,  which  knocked  off  120  feet  of  the  prow  and  hull 
of  the  400-foot  freighter.  The  crew  went  over  the  side  in  lifeboats,  but 

3Ulvestad,  7^ordm(End  i  America. 

From  Various  Localities 


Captain  Stousland  stayed  with  his  ship  and  beached  it — alone — on  the 
near-by  shore  of  Holland.  Then  he  climbed  down  on  the  sand  bar  and 
went  off  for  help.  The  Liberty  Glo  was  subsequently  given  a  new  prow 
and  is  still  sailing.4  Captain  Stousland  was  a  son  of  a  sister  of  Henrik 
Ibsen,  the  dramatist. 


All  the  institutions  that  have  been  established  by  Norwegians  in 
New  York  have  been  placed  in  Brooklyn  except  two:  the  Eger  Old 
People's  Home  on  Staten  Island  and  the  Christian  Home  for  Orphan 
Children  at  Fort  Lee,  New  Jersey,  opposite  129th  Street,  Manhattan. 

The  Children's  Home  was  founded  in  1900  by  members  of  the 
evangelical  free  churches  and  for  years  the  Home  was  situated  in  Mag- 
nolia Street,  Jersey  City.  John  Nilsen  who,  with  the  aid  of  his  wife, 
ran  the  Home  for  some  twenty  years — in  fact  until  his  death — was  an 
excellent  superintendent.  The  institution  has  since  1919  been  housed  at 
Fort  Lee,  where  it  owns  commodious  and  suitable  quarters  for  the  care 
of  children.  At  West  Park,  New  York,  near  the  Hudson  River,  the 
Home  owns  a  summer  place  for  the  children.  Rev.  Thorvald  Johansen 
is  the  superintendent  of  the  institution. 

William  L.  Finne,  who  practiced  as  architect  in  Elizabeth,  New 
Jersey,  for  twenty-six  years,  was  born  in  Oslo  and  emigrated  first  to 
South  Africa.  He  came  to  the  United  States  in  1905  and  was  an  inter- 
ested member  of  the  Order  of  Sons  of  Norway. 


The  first  Norwegian  to  settle  in  Cohoes,  New  York  (near  Troy  and 
Albany)  was,  as  far  as  is  known,  one  William  Nilsen.  Next  after  him 
came  Orlando  Martinsen  Aas  from  Drammen;  George  Brecker,  John 
Laim,  Henry  Basberg,  Nils  Nilsen,  Edw.  Thoresen,  Oluf  G.  Tofte,  E. 
Evensen,  H.  Mikkelsen  and  Lauritz  Nilsen.  Most  of  them  worked  in 
machine  shops  and  had  come  from  Svelvik,  Drammen  or  Oslo.  Oscar 
Tofte  in  Cohes,  a  brother  of  Oluf,  is  said  to  have  made  the  first  pair  of 
skis  in  New  York  State  about  1880.  He  was  the  ski  expert  of  the  locality 
and  he  helped  to  make  skis  for  the  whole  countryside.  They  even  had 

47^ewar\  Evening  J^ews  and  Saturday  Evening  Post,  March  2,  1940. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

contests  of  skill  in  the  hills  of  the  neighborhood  in  those  early  days. 
This  information  is  supplied  by  the  well-known  Brooklyn  attorney, 
Rodney  T.  Martinsen,  a  son  of  the  above-mentioned  Orlando  Martinson 

In  Troy  there  is  a  Lutheran  congregation  belonging  to  the  Norwe- 
gian Lutheran  Church  of  America,  but  now  consisting  mostly  of  Danes. 
The  Oscar  Tofte  Lodge  of  Sons  of  Norway  serves  the  Norwegians  of 
Schenectady  and  Albany  and  neighborhood. 


The  first  Norwegian  settler  near  Schenectady,  New  York,  was  Karl 
Hansen,  born  in  Norway  in  1 691  and  killed  in  an  encounter  with  Indians 
on  his  farm  in  1748.  This  farm  is  now  owned  by  Dudley  Toll  Hill,  own- 
er of  The  Gazette  in  Schenectady.  The  original  house  built  by  Hansen 
on  the  farm  in  171 1  had  stone  walls  24  inches  thick.  It  was,  however, 
destroyed  but  rebuilt  in  1843.  According  to  Mr.  Hill,  Hansen  was  rep- 
resenting the  Schenectady  district  in  the  State  Assembly  from  1 714  to 
1728,  when  this  State  was  still  a  Colony  of  England.  In  the  private  ceme- 
tery on  the  property  it  states  on  a  marker  that  Karl  Hansen,  evidently  a 
son  of  the  first  settler  by  the  same  name,  fought  in  the  Revolutionary 
War  in  1775-1776. 

In  Schenectady  and  in  the  nearby  town  of  Scotia,  many  Norwegians 
are  to  be  found  and  a  considerable  number  of  them  are  employed  by  the 
General  Electric  Company,  both  as  engineers  and  in  other  capacities. 
Many  of  them  are  old  settlers  in  the  locality.  Among  those  employed  by 
the  General  Electric  Company  are  the  engineers,  Trygve  Dahl,  Erling 
Holm,  Mathias  K.  Kj0lsett  from  Romsdalen;  E.  Sogge,  Harstad;  John 
Heidenstrom,  John  Horn,  and  Arne  Feste,  Oslo.  Of  others  may  be  men- 
tioned Reinhardt  and  Erling  L.  Johnson  from  Mandal;  A.  Halvorsen, 
Telemarken;  J.  Trondsen,  Kristiansand;  Martin  Hildal,  Bergen;  Ole 
Gundersen  and  G.  A.  Erickson  from  Oslo. 

One  of  the  Norwegian  pioneers  in  this  locality  is  Isak  Gundersen, 
in  the  real  estate  business,  who  has  been  there  for  45  years.  Oscar  Tofte 
was  for  forty  years  a  foreman  at  the  United  States  Arsenal.  Arne  Kj0l- 
seth  from  Porsgrunn  is  engineer  and  contractor;  Rolf  Jensen  from  Skien 
does  well-drilling;  and  Rolf  Mellerud  is  from  Hadeland.5 

5Carl  Soyland  in  Xordis\  Tidende,  1937. 

From  Various  Localities 


The  following  were  members  of  an  excursion  to  New  York  City 
in  1937:  Hanna  Cleary,  Mrs.  Bertha  Halvorsen,  Mrs.  Bertha  Trondsen, 
Helen  Trondsen,  Frank  Peters,  Astri  Johnson,  Marguit  J.  Palmer,  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Ingvald  Larsen,  Rolf  F.  Jensen,  Jr.,  Karl  J.  Rasvold,  G. 
Engvold,  Mrs.  Sigurd  Olsen,  Louis  Larsen,  Hanna  Gundersen,  George 
A.  Marshall,  Nanna  Jensen,  Mrs.  Martha  Gunderson,  Howard  Gunder- 
son,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Oscar  Fabricius  and  Jay  N.  Fabricius,  Mrs.  John  Hei- 
denstrom,  Erling  O.  Jensen,  Ollie  Fabricius,  Ethelyn  Marshall,  Helen 
Thorsen,  Mrs.  E.  Rosvold,  Mrs.  Maja  Olsen,  Rolf  Gundersen,  Frank 
and  Agnes  H.  Smith,  Thomas  and  Florence  Pfeiffer,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Sigurd 
Olsen,  Mrs.  Caroline  Hansen,  Karl  Th.  Olssen,  Anna  Thorsen,  Ole  A. 
Omland,  Mrs.  T.  Thorsen,  Marie  H.  Marshall. 


In  Corning,  which  is  in  the  central  part  of  New  York  State,  and 
about  250  miles  from  New  York  City,  there  is  a  lively  Norwegian  Colony 
of  two  or  three  hundred  persons.  It  might  be  more  correct  to  call  the 
Colony  Scandinavian,  because  there  are  also  many  Swedes,  and  the  two 
nationalities  mix  in  excellent  harmony.  The  center  of  the  Colony  is  the 
Norwegian  Methodist  Church,  which  was  organized  by  the  Rev.  Albert 
Hansen  and  was  incorporated,  191 7.  But,  as  far  back  as  1907,  Nils  Erik- 
sen  had  begun  a  private  Sunday  School  there.  Among  the  first  Norwe- 
gians to  come  to  Corning  were  Gust  Staahl  from  Hadeland.  He  arrived 
there  in  1903,  together  with  Isak  Trondsen  and  Arnold  Eng.  They  were 
glass  blowers  from  Norway.  This  started  the  emigration  of  skilled  glass 
blowers  from  Hadeland  and  H0vik.  Most  of  them  are  employed  at  the 
Corning  Glass  Works,  where  a  force  of  3000  men  is  kept  busy.  The  most 
prominent  Norwegian  in  town  is  Alfred  Vaksdal,  plant  engineer  at  the 
glass  works.  He  was  born  at  Vaksdal,  near  Bergen,  graduated  from  the 
Horten  Technical  School  in  1907,  and  arrived  in  America  in  1910. 
Vaksdal  came  to  Corning  in  1920.  The  Rev.  A.  John  Amundsen  is  pastor 
of  the  Norwegian  Church.  He  is  from  Talvik  in  Alten,  near  Hammer- 
fest.  Mrs.  Amundsen  is  from  Mosjpen,  Helgeland. 

A  number  of  Norwegians  have  settled  in  Madison  County,  New 
York,  in  or  near  the  village  of  Hamilton,  the  seat  of  Colgate  University. 

6Carl  Soyland  in  ~N.ordis\  Tidende,  1938. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Olaf  M.  Osland,  a  brother  of  Birger  Osland  in  Chicago,  owns  a  farm  in 
this  neighborhood  and  superintends  a  section  of  the  Barge  Canal.  Arthur 
Andersen  is  superintendent  ot  a  creamery  in  Bouckville,  and  of  other 
Norwegians  in  this  locality  may  be  mentioned  George  Bj0rkman,  and 
Mr.  Hess,  a  policeman.  The  Norwegians  here  have  not  been  numerous 
enough  to  maintain  a  congregation  or  a  society. 


The  first  Norwegian  on  record  to  visit  Buffalo  was  Rev.  J.  W.  C. 
Dietrichson,  who  arrived  in  New  York  in  1844.  On  his  way  to  Muskego, 
Wisconsin,  the  pioneer  clergyman  held  a  religious  service  in  Buffalo. 
This  indicates  that  there  must  have  been  some  Scandinavians,  perhaps 
sailors,  already  at  that  early  time. 

In  Nordmcend  i  Amenta  Martin  Ulvestad  makes  the  statement  that 
when  Ole  Bull's  Colony,  New  Norway,  went  on  the  rocks,  some  of  the 
members  moved  north  to  Buffalo.  Ole  Snyder,  the  first  child  to  be  born 
in  Oleana,  became  a  well-known  lawyer  in  the  city  on  Lake  Erie.  Ulve- 
stad also  mentions  N.  Nielsen,  who  was  an  old  friend  of  Ole  Bull;  Hans 
Hoist,  from  Skien;  Mrs.  Bergh  and  her  daughter,  Mrs.  Kate  Parker. 

In  recent  years  S0ren  Munch  Kielland,  a  well-known  railroad  en- 
gineer, was  the  most  prominent  Norwegian  in  Buffalo.  He  was  from 
Stavanger.  Trygve  Ager,  journalist,  and  a  son  of  Waldemar  Ager,  is 
now  living  in  that  city. 

The  American-Scandinavian  M.  E.  Church  came  into  being  in  1910 
and  has  now  a  comfortable  edifice  costing  $38,000.  The  first  members 
were  Mrs.  Albert  Simonsen,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  W.  Hagen,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Carl 
Fredericksen,  Hans  Johnson,  Marie  Hansen,  Mrs.  G.  Hansen,  Mrs.  Ole 
Fredericksen.  Godfred  Hansen,  who  had  been  a  lay  preacher  in  Norway, 
was  the  real  organizer  of  the  congregation.  The  present  minister  is 
Rev.  Oscar  Olsen. 

The  Odin  Lodge,  Sons  of  Norway,  was  organized  in  February, 
1 914,  by  Halvar  Halvarsen  and  Hans  J.  Anderson,  who  became  the  first 
president.  The  lodge  has  now  between  60  and  70  members.  Ladies  are 
admitted  to  membership. 

There  is  a  Roald  Amundsen  Ski  Club  in  Buffalo. 

From  Various  Localities 


The  founder  of  the  first  and  only  Norwegian  settlement  in  New 
Hampshire  was  Johannes  L.  Oswald  from  Toten.  He  came  to  Berlin 
Mills,  Coos  County,  in  1854.  Next  after  him  came  Carl  Olsen,  Herman 
Olsen  and  Nils  Holje.  The  last  named  lived  in  Gorham.  Oswold  was 
for  a  long  stretch  of  years  postmaster  at  Berlin  Mills,  where  quite  a 
Norwegian  settlement,  with  some  influence  in  politics,  grew  up.  The 
same  Oswold  was  the  first  Norwegian  to  be  elected  to  the  Legislature  of 
New  Hampshire.  In  this  office  he  was  succeeded  by  Even  Andersen 
Nottestad  from  Stange,  Hedemarken,  and  Hans  C.  Johnson  from  Oslo. 
Many  Norwegians  in  Berlin  Mills  work  in  the  paper  mills.  There  is  a 
Norwegian  Lutheran  Church  in  Berlin  Mills,  with  Rev.  J.  C.  Herre  as 
pastor,  and  a  fine  ski  club,  the  Nansen.7 

Rev.  Jacob  C.  Herre  was  born  at  Porsgrund,  Norway,  in  1871,  and 
emigrated  to  America  in  1890.  He  became  a  clergyman  in  1896  and  has 
served  congregations  at  various  places  in  the  Northwest.  In  191 1  he  be- 
came a  city  missionary  in  New  York,  and  later  superintendent  of  the 
Bethesda  Mission  and  the  Norwegian  Lutheran  Welfare  Association. 
For  a  number  of  years  he  has  been  pastor  of  the  Norwegian  Church 
at  New  Berlin,  N.  H. 

A  person  of  great  interest  in  Providence,  R.  I.,  is  Captain  Lars 
Andreassen,  who  for  the  last  thirty  years  has  been  in  the  employ  of  the 
Providence  Washington  Insurance  Company,  as  a  claim  adjuster  of  boats 
and  vessels.  He  was  born  in  Stavanger,  and  at  the  age  of  fourteen  he 
went  to  sea  in  a  vessel  bound  for  Java.  When  he  returned  home,  he 
shipped  on  a  vessel  sailing  to  Ceylon.  From  there  he  came  to  New  York 
and  shipped  on  an  American  vessel  in  the  coast  trade.8  Later  he  became 
mate  on  the  sailing  vessel  W achamau  where  he  served  for  three  years. 
He  also  spent  seven  years  in  the  pilot  service.  In  1890  he  became  Captain 
of  the  John  C.  Gregory,  and  after  six  years  on  board  this  ship  took  com- 
mand of  the  Goodwin  Stoddard.  In  1939  he  was  75  years  old.9 

The  first  to  take  up  the  question  of  a  Norwegian  Society  in  Wash- 
ington, D.  C,  was  presumably  A.  H.  O.  Rolle,  now  office  manager  in 

7Ulvestad,  "Nordmoend  i  Ameri\a. 
8Gjerset,  "Hprwegian  Sailors. 

»Hordis\  Tidende.  November  23,  1894;  July  24,  1896. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

the  U.  S.  Census  Office.  As  a  result  of  his  suggestions,  a  few  men  of 
Norwegian  blood  met  on  January  20,  1902,  to  discuss  the  matter.  In 
addition  to  Mr.  Rolle,  the  group  consisted  of  Juul  Dieserud,  Sathre, 
Larsen,  and  Jahr.  Steingrimur  Stefansson,  born  in  Iceland,  was  also 
present.  It  was  agreed  to  issue  invitations  to  a  larger  number,  who  met 
in  the  Swiss  Society  Hall  five  days  later.  At  this  meeting  the  six  men 
mentioned  above  were  present,  and  also  J.  C.  M.  Hanson,  chief  of  the 
catalogue  department,  Library  of  Congress;  M.  L.  Eidsness,  engaged  at 
the  Capitol;  Dr.  P.  D.  von  Enche;  J.  Brynildsen,  and  E.  Christiansen. 
The  one-time  editor  of  Norden  in  Chicago,  R.  S.  N.  Sartz,  sent  greetings 
and  expressed  his  hearty  support  of  the  idea  of  a  Norwegian  Society  in 
the  Capital. 

After  some  discussion  it  was  agreed  to  call  the  society  Norwegian 
instead  of  Scandinavian,  but  all  of  Nordic  blood  should  have  unlimited 
right  to  become  members.  A  committee  was  appointed  to  prepare  sug- 
gestions for  a  constitution,  and  at  the  next  meeting,  in  McCauley's  Hall, 
February  19,  most  of  these  suggestions  were  adopted.  The  name  was 
to  be:  "Det  norske  Selskap  i  District  of  Columbia." 

The  first  board  of  directors  consisted  of  R.  S.  N.  Sartz,  president; 
Jahr,  Halvorsen  and  Eidsness,  vice-presidents;  A.  H.  O.  Rolle  and  Juul 
Dieserud,  recording  and  corresponding  secretary  respectively;  and  P.  P. 
Larsen.  The  Senators,  Knute  Nelson  and  Dolliver,  and  Congressmen 
Gilbert  Haugen  and  Dahle  were  elected  honorary  members. 

To  start  with,  meetings  were  held  twice  a  month,  from  October  to 
May,  with  admittance  for  ladies  on  the  Seventeenth  of  May  and  on 
certain  other  occasions.  Sartz  was  elected  to  the  presidency  seven  years 
in  succession,  and  then  he  became  honorary  president  for  life.  He  was 
succeeded  in  1910  by  J.  C.  M.  Hanson,  who  left  Washington  at  the  end 
of  the  year.  Thorstein  Jahr  took  over  the  office  (1911-12).  The  next 
to  be  elected  to  the  presidency  was  Dr.  Leonard  Stejneger,  who,  however, 
was  unable  to  serve.  The  meetings  were  presided  over  by  the  vice-presi- 
dent, Mr.  Dieserud,  who  was  elected  for  the  following  year.  In  later 
years  the  following  have  been  president  in  the  order  named:  M.  Solem, 
M.  L.  Eidsness,  J.  E.  Petersen,  Dr.  John  O.  Hall,  Oscar  Lindquist,  L. 
Elvehjem,  Karl  Eidhammer,  F.  A.  Rasch,  Dr.  W.  A.  Johannesen,  Peter 
O.  Moe,  and  finally  for  1940,  A.  H.  O.  Rolle. 

After  the  World  War  it  proved  difficult  to  continue  the  meetings 

From  Various  Localities 


twice  a  month,  and  it  was  then  decided  to  admit  women  as  regular  mem- 
bers and  to  reduce  the  meetings  to  two  or  three  festivities  a  year,  par- 
ticularly on  the  Seventeenth  of  May  and  at  Christmas.  On  special  occa- 
sions, other  festivities  took  place:  a  reception  for  Senator  Knute  Nelson 
on  his  6oth  birthday,  February  2,  1903;  receptions  for  the  author,  Hans 
Seland,  in  1904;  for  the  actor,  Harald  Stormoen,  in  1905,  and  later  in 
1905  for  N.  Rygg,  president  of  the  Bank  of  Norway;  the  tenth  anniver- 
sary of  the  Society  in  1912,  and  the  twenty-fifth  anniversary  in  1927. 

In  recognition  of  Senator  Knute  Nelson's  long  service  in  the  Senate, 
and  the  interest  he  had  shown  the  Society,  he  was  elected  as  its  only 
life  member. 

The  Society  had  its  largest  attendance  at  the  banquet  in  honor  of 
the  Crown  Prince  and  Crown  Princess  of  Norway  at  the  Shoreham  Hotel 
in  1939.  There  are  now  more  than  one  hundred  members.10 

Leonard  Stejneger  is  curator  of  biology  at  the  United  States  National 
Museum,  a  branch  of  the  Smithsonian  Institution  in  Washington,  D.  C. 
He  has  written  extensively,  both  in  English  and  Norwegian,  on  animal 
life  in  many  lands.  Stejneger  was  born  in  Bergen  in  1851  and  came  to 
America  in  1881.  In  all  these  years  he  has  been  connected  with  the 
Smithsonian  Institution.  The  famous  scientist  has  been  a  member  of  many 
biological  expeditions,  and  he  has  received  several  decorations,  among 
these  the  Order  of  St.  Olav,  for  his  valuable  researches.11 

Cand.  mag.  Juul  Dieserud,  born  in  Valdres,  Norway,  some  76  years 
ago,  came  in  1890  to  Chicago,  where  for  a  number  of  years  he  was  en- 
gaged at  the  Newberry  Library.  Dieserud  was  thereafter  for  more  than 
thirty  years  cataloguer  and  language  expert  at  the  Library  of  Congress, 
Washington,  D.  C.  He  is  a  publicist  of  great  ability  and  his  articles  are 
often  to  be  found  in  Norwegian-American  newspapers.  Dieserud  is  a 
Knight  of  St.  Olav. 

In  1925  Dieserud  entered  into  a  very  interesting  controversy,  when 
the  committee  in  Minneapolis — in  charge  of  the  celebration  of  the  one 
hundredth  anniversary  of  Norwegian  emigration  to  America  —  made 
use  of  the  word  Norse  in  its  official  name.  Dieserud  maintained  that 

10Juul  Dieserud  to  author. 

"Laurence  M.  Larson:  The  Changing  of  the  West,  p.  3. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Norwegian  and  Norwegians  should  be  used  when  particularly  Norwe- 
gian matters  and  people  of  the  Norwegian  race  were  involved.  Norwe- 
gian was  much  clearer  and  more  limited  in  its  meaning  than  the  vague 
and  indefinite  Norse,  which  often  was  used  in  the  meaning  of  Scandina- 
vian or  in  the  connection  Old  Norse,  the  language  which  in  the  Middle 
Ages  had  its  richest  flowering  in  a  Norwegian  colony — Iceland.  The  Nor- 
wegian Legation — not  the  Norse  Legation — asked  the  University  in  Oslo 
for  its  opinion,  and  Dieserud's  contention  was  upheld  in  toto.12 

Axel  H.  Oxholm  was  born  in  Buksness  in  Lofoten  and  emigrated 
to  the  United  States  in  1914,  at  the  age  of  25.  He  studied  forestry,  and 
from  1 921  he  was  in  the  service  of  the  United  States  Government,  hav- 
ing charge  of  the  Bureau  of  Wood  Utilization  in  the  Department  of  the 
Interior,  Washington,  D.  C.  Mr.  Oxholm  is  now  engaged  in  the  private 
lumber  industry  in  Tacoma,  Washington. 

In  the  early  Thirties  Odd  Dahl  (now  at  the  Chr.  Michelsen  Institute, 
Bergen),  Dr.  Merle  A.  Tuve  (from  Canton,  South  Dakota),  and  Dr.  Lor- 
entz  Hafstad  were  doing  research  work  at  the  Carnegie  Institute  in 
Washington.  They  were,  in  particular,  engaged  on  the  problem  of 
"splitting  the  atoms." 

Professor  H.  U.  Sverdrup,  who  was  with  Roald  Amundsen's  Maud 
expedition,  1922-1925,  has  also  spent  some  time  at  the  Carnegie  Institute, 
making  researches  in  oceanography.  He  is  now  head  of  the  Scripps 
Institute  of  Oceanography  at  La  Jolla,  California. 


After  the  Civil  War,  which  ended  in  1865,  large  tracts  of  land  in 
Virginia  were  lying  idle  and  neglected  for  many  years.  It  was  the  Chesa- 
peake and  Ohio  Railroad  officials  who  first  became  interested  in  getting 
good  farmers  to  settle  and  build  up  the  country.  In  the  beginning  of  the 
Nineties  the  railroad  company  sent  a  Norwegian,  by  name  C.  M.  Berg, 
to  Virginia  to  make  an  investigation  of  the  land  there.  The  result  was 
that  enthusiastic  articles  appeared  in  newspapers  and  circulars.  The  cli- 
mate and  soil  and  farming  possibilities  were  described  as  most  excellent. 
Thrifty  farmers  could  secure  homes  quickly  and  cheaply  and  with  ease, 

12Xordis\  Tidende,  May  14,  and  August  27,  1925. 

From  Various  Localities 


and  they  could  live  in  comfort  in  a  lovely  climate.  It  was,  perhaps,  the 
mild  climate  which  more  than  anything  else  attracted  people  who  had 
suffered  from  the  hard  winters  and  the  hot  summers  on  the  Dakota 
prairies.  It  is  therefore  significant  that  the  first  person  who  settled  in 
"Norge"  was  a  man  from  Oslo,  by  name  Scriver,  who  had  tried  farm- 
ing in  Wisconsin.  He  is  described  as  an  educated  and  able  and  honest 
man,  but  he  was  in  ill  health  and  could  not  stand  the  severe  climate  in 
the  North.  He  did  not  live  long,  but  his  moving  to  Virginia  was  con- 
tagious, and  other  Norwegians  followed  suit. 

The  next  to  settle  there  was  Andrew  Flatten,  who  stayed  there  until 
his  death,  about  1936.  In  the  years  1898  and  1899,  several  families  moved 
down  there:  Ole  Flatten,  W.  Williamsen,  Nelson,  John  Kinde,  and 
O.  Elton.  About  1900,  P.  O.  Hansen,  L.  Glans,  Ole  Aas  (non-commis- 
sioned officer  from  Trondheim)  and  others,  arrived  at  "Norge",  Virginia. 

The  colonists  became  very  much  disappointed.  It  was  not  only  un- 
cultivated land  they  came  to,  but  it  seemed  for  a  while  impossible  to 
work  the  land  and  get  rid  of  the  weeds.  And  the  red-brown  ticks  were 
a  particular  nuisance.  The  place  was  full  of  ticks  that  dug  themselves 
into  the  hides  of  the  cattle,  so  that  it  was  useless  to  turn  the  animals 
out  to  graze.  However,  the  soil  was  good,  and  the  U.  S.  Government 
assisted  the  settlers  in  getting  rid  of  weeds  and  insects,  and  the  Norwe- 
gians were  able  to  get  ahead.  The  difficulty  has  been  to  ship  their  pro- 
ducts to  market.  Before  the  automobile  era,  the  farmers  had  to  depend 
altogether  on  the  C.  &  O.  Railroad,  which  kept  up  the  high  freight  rates. 
The  land  is  now  under  the  plow  for  the  most  part,  but  in  late  years  the 
young  people  have  been  moving  away. 

The  church  work  was  started  down  there  in  1898.  From  the  begin- 
ning and  up  to  about  1930,  it  was  carried  on  almost  altogether  in  Nor- 
wegian, but  by  now  it  is  all  in  English. 

Rustad,  a  veteran  from  the  Civil  War,  was  among  the  first  settlers 
and  is  still  living,  but  totally  blind.  He  has  been  an  active  and  able  man 
and  one  of  his  sons  has  had  a  leading  position  in  the  restoration  of  Wil- 
liamsburg, the  capital  of  the  Old  Dominion.  The  name  "Norge" — writ- 
ten in  Norwegian,  but  with  the  English  pronunciation,  as  in  "George" — 
was,  of  course,  used  by  the  railroad  company  to  attract  the  Norwegians.13 

13Rev.  H.  M.  Gundersen  to  author. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 


Andrew  Ellseth,  from  Telemarken  and  veteran  from  the  Civil  War, 
was  the  first  Norwegian  to  take  up  farming  near  Norfolk,  Va.  He  settled 
twelve  miles  south  of  Norfolk  in  1895.  Thomas  Osmundsen,  from  Har- 
danger,  came  the  next  year.  The  first  Norwegians  to  settle  in  Norfolk 
proper  were  Karl  Tennefoss  from  Sogn,  Thomas  and  Olaf  Narum  and 
Albert  Lofthus  from  Stavanger,  and  a  man  from  Trondheim  by  name 
Holland.  They  worked  in  the  shipyards.14 

Anders  Williams,  who  was  born  in  Kristiansund,  has  been  Consul 
for  Norway  in  Norfolk  since  1923.  Quite  a  number  of  Norwegian  ships 
call  at  this  port  every  year.  In  addition  to  the  Consulate,  Mr.  Williams 
carries  on  business  as  a  ship  chandler. 

Axel  B.  Petersen,  Richmond,  Va.,  was  a  seaman  in  his  youth,  but 
quit  the  sea  and  came  to  Philadelphia  in  1891.  He  lived  in  the  city  until 
1910,  and  then  moved  to  Richmond,  where  he  has  been  ever  since.  He 
was  engaged  in  the  tobacco  industry.  Petersen  was  80  years  old  in  1941. 

Down  near  the  southern  end  of  the  beautiful  Shenandoah  Valley, 
in  Virginia,  and  close  to  Monticello,  where  Thomas  Jefferson  used  to 
live,  the  Norwegian  sculptor  Oskar  J.  W.  Hansen  resides  in  idyllic 
surroundings  on  a  farm,  which  he  purchased  some  years  ago.  The  near- 
est town  is  Charlottesville.  Among  Norwegians,  Mr.  Hansen  is  perhaps 
best  known  for  his  sketch  for  a  large  Leiv  Eiriksson  Monument,  to  be 
placed  in  Grant  Park,  Chicago.  The  monument  has  not  yet  materialized, 
because  the  necessary  money  could  not  be  raised.  Hansen  was  born  in 
Lofoten,  Norway,  in  1892,  and  went  to  sea  from  Bergen  at  the  age  of 
sixteen.  Some  years  ago  he  told  Carl  S0yland,  editor  of  Nordisl^  Tidende, 
that  he  joined  the  French  Foreign  Legion  in  Morocco,  studied  art  with 
Rodin  in  Paris,  took  part  in  a  revolution  in  Mexico  in  1909,  and  served 
in  the  United  States  Army  in  the  World  War.  Hansen  has  60  sculptures 
to  his  credit.  There  is  a  war  monument  in  Hinsdale,  111.;  and  in  the 
Rand  Tower  in  Minneapolis  his  "Spirit  of  Aviation"  may  be  seen.  When 
Crown  Prince  Olav  and  Crown  Princess  Martha  were  married,  Hansen 
sent  them  "Winged  Figure  Kneeling"  as  a  wedding  present.15 

14Ulvestad,  Klordm&nd  i  Ameri\a. 
15Carl  Soyland,  7^ordis\  Tidende. 

From  Various  Localities 



A  tragedy  similar  to  the  one  at  Oleana  took  place  at  Gaspe  on  the 
north  side  of  the  Bay  of  St.  Lawrence,  some  500  miles  northeast  of  Que- 
bec, in  the  early  Sixties.  In  this  case  it  was  a  man  by  name  Kristoffer 
Kloster,  a  brother  of  Asbj0rn  Kloster,  the  apostle  of  temperance  in 
Norway,  who  was  involved  and  who  had  acted  without  sufficient  inves- 
tigation and  planning.  The  result  was  that  quite  a  number  of  Norwe- 
gians were  led  into  an  unfriendly  and  unfamiliar  region  where  they 
simply  could  not  sustain  themselves.  After  severe  sufferings  most  of 
them  managed  to  get  away  from  there  and  nowadays  there  is  no  trace 
left  of  the  Norwegian  settlement  at  Gaspe. 

This  Colony  began  as  follows:  in  the  period  between  1850  and  1870, 
the  greater  part  of  the  emigration  from  Norway  to  America  came  by 
way  of  Quebec.  Some  of  these  immigrants  were  destitute  when  they 
arrived  in  the  Canadian  city  and  they  had  no  means  of  getting  farther 
West,  so  that  they  became  a  serious  problem.  The  Canadian  authorities 
thought,  therefore,  that  it  would  be  a  good  idea  to  send  such  immigrants 
to  Gaspe,  where  there  was  plenty  of  vacant  land  and  plenty  of  fishing 
to  be  done.  Kloster,  who  evidently  was  very  much  of  a  dreamer,  was 
appointed  to  take  charge  of  the  settlement  and  he  also  went  back  to 
Stavanger  to  stir  up  emigration  to  Gaspe.  He  succeeded  in  bringing  over 
a  group,  but  by  the  time  these  people  had  reached  their  destination,  the 
Canadian  authorities  had  lost  interest  in  the  settlement.  Kloster  allowed 
the  poor  immigrants  to  shift  for  themselves  and  this  attempted  coloniza- 
tion at  Gaspe  forms  one  of  the  dark  pages  in  the  history  of  Norwegian 
emigration  to  America.  N.  C.  Brun,  one  of  the  members  of  the  Gaspe 
Colony,  later  became  a  prominent  pastor  in  the  United  Lutheran  Church. 



UP  to  the  Years  of  the  great  depression,  the  Norwegians  of  Brooklyn 
constituted  a  growing  and  flourishing  group.  Ever  since  immigra- 
tion began,  the  Colony  had  increased  in  numbers  from  year  to  year  and 
it  had  also  grown  in  economic  strength  and  become  more  rooted  in 
American  soil.  Consequently,  the  group  had  been  able  to  undertake  a 
good  many  things  of  value  to  the  community  and  had  managed  to  build 
up  social  institutions  for  the  relief  of  members  of  its  own  nationality. 

The  question  might  be  asked:  Will  the  Norwegian  group  be  able 
to  maintain  its  many  institutions  far  into  the  future?  It  is  not  to  be 
denied  that  the  group  is  weaker  today  than  it  was  ten  years  ago.  The 
virtual  stoppage  of  the  emigration  to  the  United  States  prevents  a  further 
growth  in  numbers,  that  is  to  say — of  people  born  in  Norway.  The  group 
is  in  fact  growing  less  numerous — no  influx  by  immigration  on  one  side, 
reduction  by  death  on  the  other. 

The  stoppage  of  the  immigration  has  quite  naturally  had  the  effect 
of  hastening  the  time  when  the  Norwegian  language  will  be  pushed  to 
the  sidelines.  The  English  language  is  gaining  ground  rapidly  in  the 
churches  and  societies.  And  in  ten  years  time  many  of  these  societies 
will  be  extinct  or  will  have  trouble  to  keep  their  heads  above  water.  On 
the  other  hand,  there  will  be  an  expansion  of  the  activities  of  those  born 
here  of  Norwegian  parentage. 

A  careful  survey  conducted  by  Nordisf^  Tidende  in  the  Spring  of 
1 94 1  has  yielded  some  very  interesting  information.  Here  is  the  way  the 
Norwegians  of  Brooklyn  can  be  classified  according  to  occupation: 

Professional    8.0% 

Merchants  and  Sales  Clerks    4-5% 

Office  Workers    5.5% 

Working  on  Ships,  Docks,  Harbor   27-°% 

Skilled  Labor   35.0% 

Unskilled  Labor    8.0% 

Miscellaneous   ii-o% 


General  Observations 


As  indicated  by  these  figures,  the  men  in  the  Colony  are  mainly 
occupied  in  the  harbor  or  at  the  building  trades — 72%,  or  3  men  out  of 
every  4.  There  is  a  surprisingly  large  number  of  professional  men,  main- 
ly engineers,  and  a  surprisingly  small  number  of  unskilled  laborers 
among  the  Norwegians,  in  fact  there  are  as  many  professional  men  as 
there  are  unskilled  laborers. 

This  is  probably  as  nearly  correct  as  it  is  possible  to  come.  In  New 
Yor\  Panorama,  Federal  Writers'  Project,  the  same  subject  is  discussed: 
"The  Scandinavians  are  for  the  most  part  mechanics,  seamen  and  skilled 
workers  in  the  building  trades.  More  than  60%  are  members  of  trade 
unions.  They  are  especially  numerous  in  such  unions  as  the  Carpenters, 
Bricklayers,  Painters,  and  International  Seamen." 

"There  are,"  says  Fortune  of  July,  1939,  in  an  article  entitled  "Melt- 
ing Pot,"  "67,000  Swedes,  63,000  Norwegians  and  20,000  Danes  in  New 
York.  And  half  of  their  total  live  in  Bay  Ridge,  the  great,  curving  prow 
of  Brooklyn  that  breasts  the  wavy  Narrows.  If  it  was  Viking  blood  that 
drew  them  there,  they  have  kept  no  suggestion  of  old  Oslo  in  Bay  Ridge 
streets  today.  It  is  a  neighborhood  of  two-family  houses,  clean,  colorless, 
and  respectable.  The  men  are  mostly  skilled  workers:  carpenters,  paint- 
ers, mechanics  in  the  shipyards,  seamen,  or  occasionally  engineers.  The 
women  are  domestic  servants,  beauticians,  or  masseuses.  There  are  few 
rich  Scandinavians  and  no  Scandinavian  slums.  Of  the  Norwegians,  who 
predominate  in  Bay  Ridge,  83  per  cent  have  savings  accounts,  and  the  ac- 
counts of  the  Scandinavian-born  in  the  Bay  Ridge  Savings  Bank  average 
$80.00  higher  than  those  of  the  American-born." 

It  has  been  stated  that  the  Norwegians  as  a  rule  do  not  like  to  live 
in  big  apartment  houses,  where  they  feel  too  crowded.  They  prefer  more 
air,  small  houses  and  plenty  of  elbow  room.  "Few  can  be  said  to  be 
rich,"  observes  Prof.  Knut  Gjerset  in  Norwegian  Sailors  in  American 
Waters.  "The  majority  are  people  of  modest  means,  but  the  homes  even 
of  families  in  humbler  walks  of  life  are  usually  characterized  by  taste 
and  neatness.  There  is  about  them  an  atmosphere  of  domesticity  and 
culture  distinctly  Norwegian,  inherited  from  the  old  fatherland,  where 
home-making  has  been  woman's  chief  art  and  ambition  for  centuries. 
Many  articles  decorating  the  home  bear  the  imprint  of  the  housewife's 
own  skill  with  needle  or  brush,  and  on  the  table  one  may  find  a  book 
or  two — recent  novels  published  in  Norway."1 
1Gjerset,  Norwegian  Sailors  in  American  Waters,  p.  221. 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

George  M.  Stephenson  suggests  that  the  Norwegians  have  exhibited 
greater  solidarity  in  America  than  the  Swedes  and  he  attributes  this  to 
the  fact  that  the  Norwegians  left  their  country  when  it  was  experiencing 
a  renaissance  of  national  feeling,  whereas  the  Swedes  left  at  a  time  when 
national  feling  was  at  a  low  ebb.2 

In  an  interview  which  Nordis\  Tidende  had  with  O.  E.  R0lvaag 
in  May,  1931,  the  famous  author  touched  upon  a  very  interesting  phase 
of  the  immigration.  He  maintained  that  the  first  large  portion  of  immi- 
grants from  Norway  consisted  of  men  and  women  who  had  bid  the  old 
country  good-bye  in  their  hearts  and  came  here  to  settle.  They  and  their 
descendants  were  to  a  large  extent  lost  to  Norway. 

But  with  the  Seventies  a  new  epoch  in  the  immigration  begins.  In 
Norway,  the  national  revival  which  grew  up  in  the  Wergeland  period 
and  which  was  carried  further  by  men  like  Ibsen,  Munch  and  Bj0rnson, 
had  become  general,  the  people  were  imbued  with  love  of  their  country. 
Those  who  during  these  years  left  Norway  and  came  to  America,  did 
so  with  a  heavy  heart.  It  was  not  their  intention  to  settle  here,  they 
thought  their  stay  would  be  temporary,  they  came  here  on  a  visit.  But 
as  a  rule  the  visit  lasted  for  life. 

R0lvaag  was  of  the  opinion  that  it  was  these  men,  those  who  came 
over  here  between  1870  and  1900,  who  have  been  the  choice  troops  of  the 
Norwegian-American  people.  It  was  they  who  founded  our  institutions 
and  called  the  attention  of  America  to  the  fine  qualities  of  the  Norwe- 
gian-Americans. They  were  Norwegians  to  the  core  and  were  anxious 
to  show  the  new  country  that  they  came  well  equipped  from  Norway. 

Members  of  the  third  group — particularly  those  who  came  over 
after  the  World  War — are  in  the  opinion  of  R0lvaag,  of  a  lighter  cali- 
ber. And  he  may  be  quite  correct,  adds  Nordis\  Tidende.  The  ma- 
jority of  this  last  group  were  city  folk,  youth  who  had  not  yet  acquired 
any  particular  Norwegian  atmosphere.  They  had  been  pulled  up  from 
Norwegian  soil  before  the  roots  had  got  a  good  grip,  and  were  replanted 
here,  where  they  grew  without  any  planning.  They  did  not  have  any 
strong  national  feeling  like  those  who  came  before  them  in  the  last 
quarter  of  the  Nineteenth  Century.  They  were  root-loose  and  drifting 
wanderers  in  the  new  land. 

There  is  without  doubt  a  good  deal  of  truth  in  these  observations. 

2"The  Mind  of  the  Scandinavian  Immigrant"  in  Studies  and  Records,  4;  63 ff. 

General  Observations 


A  look  around  in  the  Norwegian  Colony  in  Brooklyn  would  seem  to 
show  that  almost  everything  of  a  substantial  and  permanent  character 
has  been  built  by  people  belonging  to  R0lvaag's  second  group.  Even  in 
the  case  of  institutions  that  came  along  after  the  turn  of  the  century  such 
as  the  Norwegian  Children's  Home  (1914)  and  the  Eger  Old  People's 
Home  ( 1917)  the  actual  work  was  done  by  people  of  the  older  group. 
For  years  the  bulk  of  the  younger  generation  did  not  seem  to  care  for 
anything  but  football  and  other  sports.  In  this  connection  it  might  be 
mentioned  that  when  Bj0rn  Bj0rnson,  the  old  director  of  the  National 
Theater,  and  Von  Porat  returned  from  America  to  Oslo  on  board  the 
same  ship,  the  great  multitude  at  the  pier  did  not  look  for  Bj0rnson  at 
all.  It  was  the  prize  fighter  the  people  wanted  to  get  a  glimpse  of. 

According  to  the  survey  the  language  spoken  is  exclusively  English 
in  one-fourth  of  the  homes,  and  exclusively  Norwegian  in  one-third  of 
the  homes.  In  the  remaining  families  both  languages  are  spoken: 

English  spoken  exclusively  24% 

Norwegian  spoken  exclusively  36% 

Both  languages  spoken,  preferably  English  18% 

Both  languages  spoken,  preferably  Norwegian  22% 

Three-fourths  of  the  population  read  Nordisf^  Tidende. 

The  cultural  picture  is  difficult  to  portray  in  cold  figures.  There  is 
a  general  impression  that  the  large  majority  of  Norwegians  have  element- 
ary school  education,  but  no  more.  Also  that  the  finer  arts — literature, 
music,  painting — are  being  more  or  less  ignored  by  the  great  majority. 
In  this  respect  the  Norwegians  are  like  their  neighbors  in  Bay  Ridge. 
On  the  other  hand,  there  are  also  indications  of  strong  and  sturdy 
characters — independence,  a  deep  patriotic  feeling  both  for  Norway  and 
America,  a  keen  sense  of  justice,  etc. 

The  survey  shows  conclusively  that  there  are,  on  the  average,  less 
than  two  children  per  family.  Into  what  nationality  did  these  children 
marry?  Norwegian,  41%;  American,  29%;  Irish,  4%;  Swedish,  4%; 
others,  22%.  58%  married  Protestants,  5%  Catholics,  37%  not  known. 

Of  the  married  people,  25%  of  the  husbands  and  20%  of  the  wives 
have  been  in  the  United  States  more  than  30  years. 

I7%  (or  one  in  every  six  families)  own  their  homes.  42%  live  in 
two-family  houses;  4%  in  three-family  houses;  13%  in  four-family 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

houses,  and  30%  in  apartment  houses.  22%  of  the  families  have  a  tele- 
phone in  their  own  name,  and  38%  own  a  car. 

More  than  half  of  the  population  have  both  insurance  and  a  bank 
account.  One  out  of  five  have  neither  insurance  nor  a  bank  account. 

Both  insurance  and  bank  account   58% 

Insurance  only   14% 

Bank  account  only   10% 

Neither  insurance  nor  bank  account  18% 

From  these  figures  the  living  standards  of  the  Norwegians  in  the 
Colony  appear  to  be  above  the  average  citizens  in  Brooklyn.  One  of 
every  third  family  is  average  plus.  And  only  one  in  twenty  can  be  con- 
sidered poor. 

Average  Plus   32% 

Average   63% 

Poor    5% 

On  the  other  hand,  there  are  very  few  wealthy  individuals  among 
the  Norwegians  in  Bay  Ridge. 

The  survey  shows  that  4  out  of  5  married  men,  and  3  out  of  5 
married  women  are  citizens.  Also  that  1  out  of  2  single  persons  is  a 

About  half  of  the  population  belongs  to  neither  a  church  nor  a 
society  or  club.  41.5%  belong  to  a  church  and  15%  belong  to  a  club  or 
a  society.  Some  belong  both  to  a  church  and  a  club  or  a  society.  The 

figures  are  as  follows: 

Members  of  a  church   38.0% 

Members  of  church  and  society  or  club   8.5% 

Members  of  club  or  society   7-°% 

Not  members  of  either  church  or  club  or  society.... 5 1.0% 
92%  of  the  children  attend  Sunday  School.3 

In  his  History  of  the  Norwegian  People,  Vol.  II,  p.  608,  Dr.  Knut 
Gjerset  says:  "In  politics  the  Norwegian  could  never  be  an  opportunist. 
He  takes  the  matter  seriously,  and  demands  clear  issues  and  rigid  princi- 

3Survey,  J^ordis\  Tidende,  1941. 

General  Observations 


pies  which  he  can  fully  sanction.  For  this  reason  he  has  never  been  very 
successful  in  American  city  politics,  where  the  bosses  hold  sway,  where 
everything  is  allowed,  and  where  principles  have  often  been  regarded 
as  political  stupidity." 

This  point  is  undoubtedly  well  taken.  One  reason  why  the  Norwe- 
gians in  New  York  have  played  such  a  modest  role  in  politics  is  this, 
that  they  have  felt  inclined  to  steer  clear  of  shifty  maneuvers  and  have 
insisted  on  certain  principles  in  their  political  conduct.  But  the  main 
reason  why  they  have  been  unable  to  make  headway  in  political  life  may 
be  ascribed  to  the  fact  that  such  candidates  of  Norwegian  descent  as  have 
been  put  forward,  have  belonged  to  the  minority  party  (Republican), 
and  have  always  had  too  much  of  a  majority  to  overcome. 

A  person  who,  in  1941,  had  an  opportunity  to  examine  the  subscrip- 
tion lists  of  several  Norwegian  newspapers  in  the  Northwest,  arrived  at 
the  conclusion  that  the  average  age  of  the  Norwegian-born  people  in  the 
Northwest  was  considerably  higher  than  in  the  East.  This  may  well  be 
the  case,  as  there  has  been  more  immigration  to  New  York  than  to  the 
Northwest  in  the  last  twenty-five  years.  As  a  rule  immigrants  are  young 

There  was  for  many  years  little  connection  between  the  Norwegians 
in  New  York  and  along  the  Atlantic  Coast  and  their  countrymen  in  the 
Northwest.  The  latter  came  to  New  York  and  departed  as  soon  as 
possible  for  their  destinations  in  the  Northwest.  Most  of  them  never 
seemed  to  realize  that,  back  along  the  Atlantic  seaboard,  large  and  vigor- 
ous Norwegian  settlements  grew  up,  settlements  which  it  would  be 
worth  while  to  pay  some  attention  to.  One  reason  for  this  lack  of  con- 
tact between  the  two  groups  may  have  been  that  their  interests  to  a  large 
extent  were  different.  The  most  important  means  of  making  a  living  in 
the  East  was  on  the  ocean  and  in  the  harbors,  while  farming  predominat- 
ed in  the  Northwest.  About  the  only  definite  contact  was  the  Norwegian 
Lutheran  Church,  where  the  ministers  for  the  congregations  along  the 
seaboard  came  from  the  Western  seminaries. 

This  lack  of  a  feeling  of  solidarity  has  now  disappeared  almost  com- 
pletely, the  people  in  the  East  having  come  to  regard  themselves  as  an 
integral  part  of  the  great  Norwegian  group  in  America.  Various  factors 
have  contributed  to  bring  about  this  result:  Frequent  visits  by  church 
dignataries  from  the  Northwest,  the  establishment  of  numerous  Sons  of 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

Norway  lodges  in  seaboard  towns,  the  many  college  and  university  peo- 
ple coming  to  New  York  for  graduate  study,  the  automobile  and  other 
improved  transportation,  the  increased  number  of  people  passing  through 
New  York,  going  to  or  coming  from  Norway,  the  more  frequent  inter- 
course between  the  two  groups.  And,  no  doubt,  the  understanding,  that 
"In  unity  there  is  strength,"  has  helped  to  remove  any  sectional  feeling 
which  may  have  existed  before. 

Occasionally,  however,  one  gets  the  impression  that  there  are  people 
in  the  Northwest  who,  having  passed  through  New  York,  seem  to  find 
it  difficult  to  remember  that  the  Norwegian  group  along  the  Atlantic 
Coast  numbers  some  117,000  people. 

In  New  York  there  has,  of  course,  always  been  considerable  "mix- 
ing" of  the  languages,  but  not  nearly  as  much  as  out  in  the  Northwest. 
In  a  large  city  any  peculiarity  in  the  language  is  apt  to  be  received  with 
ridicule  and  biting  criticism,  so  that  a  person  is  as  much  on  guard  as 
possible.  Whatever  mixing  occurs  is  most  likely  due  to  excusable  ignor- 
ance or  to  laziness.  Some  people  make  use  of  the  first  expression  that 
comes  to  mind,  whether  it  be  English  or  Norwegian.  Of  late,  the  mixing 
has  been  greatly  reduced,  as  there  is  now  hardly  any  immigration  and 
no  newcomers.  Group  settlements  in  the  sense  they  existed  in  the  North- 
west, where  a  mixture  of  the  two  languags  could  be  understood  both 
ways,  have  not  existed  to  a  considerable  extent  on  the  Atlantic  Coast. 
However,  as  far  back  as  in  1897  tne  distinguished  linguist,  Dr.  Peter 
Groth,  who  lived  in  New  York  for  many  years,  wrote  a  pamphlet: 
Nogle  eiendommeligheder  ved  de  til  America  udvandrede  nordmcsnds 
sprog,  which  was  printed  in  Christiania. 

A  Norwegian  author4  made  the  statement  some  years  ago  that  there 
were  people  on  both  sides  of  the  ocean,  but  mostly  in  Norway,  who  de- 
rived much  amusement  from  the  mixing  of  the  languages.  He  thought 
that  it  should  rather  be  a  matter  of  wonderment  that  the  Norwegian 
language  was  so  well  preserved,  in  view  of  the  enormous  forces  operating 
in  the  United  States  to  weld  the  population  together  into  one  language 

In  Brooklyn  and  New  York  people  from  all  parts  of  Norway  are 
to  be  found — from  North  Cape  to  Lindesness — but  it  is  presumably  the 
south  coast  which  is  most  numerously  represented.   In  place  of  the 

♦Theo.  Findahl:  Manhattan  Babylon,  p.  85. 

General  Observations 


bygdelag,  members  of  which  have  come  from  the  same  country  district, 
a  number  of  organizations  exist  in  Brooklyn  with  members  from  the 
same  town,  such  as  Tr0nderen,  Bergensforeningen,  Oks0,  Hortens- 
foreningen,  Lillesandsforeningen,  etc.  The  particular  dialects  and  accents 
remain  usually  with  people  as  long  as  they  live,  although  some  modifica- 
tion may  take  place  in  course  of  time.  The  near  connection  with  Nor- 
way helps  to  preserve  the  language. 

During  the  preparation  of  this  history  of  Norwegians  in  New  Yor^ 
1825-1925  I  have  been  asked  on  various  occasions:  "What,  in  your  opin- 
ion, has  become  the  dominant  motivating  force  in  the  life  of  this  group 
of  people?"  I  have  discussed  this  question  with  various  persons,  and  the 
unanimous  conclusion  has  been  that  the  Norwegian  national  feeling — 
perhaps  the  better  expression  would  be  race  consciousness — has  been  the 
strongest  force,  inasmuch  as  it  embraces  everybody.  This  does  not  mean 
that  they  in  any  sense  regard  themselves  as  belonging  to  Norway — on  the 
contrary,  they  take  great  pride  in  their  American  citizenship — but  they 
feel  that  they  did  not  come  to  the  United  States  empty  handed.  They 
brought  with  them  a  baggage  of  good  and  valuable  assets,  which  made 
them  a  desirable  addition  to  the  body  politic.  A  certain  feeling  of  re- 
sponsibility, that  they  should  act  so  as  to  be  of  credit  to  their  race,  has 
been  part  of  the  Norwegian  atmosphere.  A  good  illustration  of  this  is 
to  be  found  in  a  sentence  in  the  incorporation  papers  in  1892  of  the 
Norwegian  Hospital:  "If  we  share  the  blessings  of  our  adopted  land,  it 
is  certainly  also  our  duty  to  help  carry  its  burdens  and  to  shirk  from  no 
responsibility  resting  upon  us." 

As  regards  religion  as  a  motivating  force  it  has  often  been  said  that 
fifty  per  cent  of  the  Norwegians  in  New  York  are  members  of  congrega- 
tions or  are  fairly  regular  church-goers.  Besides,  there  are  a  large  num- 
ber of  people  who  recognize  the  need  of  the  church  and  the  pastor  in 
cases  of  baptism,  marriage,  and  death. 

Another  great  force  is  charity  or  social  service.  Among  Norwegians 
this  feeling  is  often  stimulated  by  the  desire  to  take  care  of  one's  own, 
and  not  let  them  become  a  burden  on  the  general  public. 


I NOW  Have  Completed  the  Task  of  writing  the  history  of  Norwe- 
gians in  New  Yor^  1825-1925.  In  order  to  keep  the  book  from  be- 
coming too  bulky,  many  items,  deemed  nonessential,  have  been  exclud- 
ed, but  I  trust  that  no  omission  has  been  made  of  matters  of  real  value 
in  themselves,  or  which  would  point  to  a  trend  or  illustrate  a  general 
movement  among  our  group  of  people.  In  a  number  of  cases,  I  have 
carried  the  narrative  beyond  the  time  limit  set — 1925 — but  on  the  whole, 
I  have  stopped  at  this  point.  Readers,  therefore,  should  not  be  disap- 
pointed if  they  find  no  mention  of  events  which  took  place  after  this 
date.  It  has,  however,  been  suggested  that  I  should,  in  an  epilogue,  make 
brief  mention  of  some  of  the  important  occurrences  which  have  been  of 
particular  interest  to  the  Norwegians  in  the  period  between  1925  and 
the  present  year,  1941. 

In  1926,  Philadelphia — the  City  of  Brotherly  Love — celebrated  the 
sesquicentennial  of  the  establishment  of  the  United  States,  1776- 1926, 
with  a  World's  Fair.  The  Norwegian  Government  did  not  take  part, 
and  for  this  reason  the  Norwegians  of  Philadelphia  appealed  to  their 
countrymen  in  New  York  for  help.  The  result  of  this  appeal  was  that 
on  October  23,  some  2,000  Norwegians  in  264  automobiles  and  14 
buses  went  to  Philadelphia.  At  the  Camden  bridge,  150  local  cars  joined 
the  procession,  which  thus  numbered  400  cars.  It  was  said  to  be  the 
largest  cavalcade  that  had  ever  entered  the  city.  At  the  meeting  in  the 
evening  at  the  auditorium,  some  6,000  people  were  present,  including 
Minister  H.  Bryn  and  the  Mayor  of  Philadelphia.  Splendid  music  was 
rendered  by  Ole  Windingstad's  Orchestra,  the  Norwegian  Singing  So- 
ciety appeared  on  the  program,  a  film  from  Norway  was  shown,  and 
there  were  addresses  by  several  dignitaries. 

In  going  through  the  files  of  Nordis\  Tidende,  one  is  struck  by  the 
prominence  attained  by  Norwegian  flyers,  particularly  in  the  early  Thir- 
ties. Bernt  Balchen  had  a  reputation  second  to  none.  He  flew  with 
Admiral  Byrd  to  the  North  Pole  in  1926,  and  in  1927  they  flew  across 
the  Atlantic  to  Paris.  Two  years  later  Balchen  went  with  the  same  leader 




to  Antarctica  and  the  South  Pole,  and  in  1933  he  was  again  in  the  south- 
ern regions,  this  time  with  the  expedition  of  Lincoln  Ellsworth.  He  is 
now  a  Captain  in  the  American  Air  Corps. 

An  expert  radiographer  and  representative  of  the  Paramount  News 
Corporation,  Carl  O.  Petersen,  accompanied  Byrd  and  Balchen  on  two 
expeditions  to  Antarctica  and  has  published  a  book  Med  Byrd  og  Balchen 
til  Sydpolen,  in  which  he  tells  of  his  experiences.  He  has  also  collaborated 
with  Solberg,  the  flyer.  Petersen  is  the  only  Norwegian  who  has  received 
the  Congressional  Medal,  and  he  is  also  the  possessor  of  other  medals. 
In  1 94 1  he  served  as  a  lieutenant  in  the  U.  S.  Navy. 

Carl  Ben  Eielsen,  born  in  North  Dakota,  flew  in  1928  with  Sir 
Hubert  Wilkins  from  Alaska  to  Svalbard  (Amundsen  called  this  trip  a 
great  achievement),  and  the  next  year  he  followed  the  same  leader  to 
Antarctica.  He  was  rapidly  becoming  famous  when  he  lost  his  life  near 
North  Cape,  Siberia,  where  his  wrecked  airplane  was  found.  On  a  trip 
to  New  York,  Eielsen  was  awarded  a  Gold  Medal  by  the  Leiv  Eiriksson 
Memorial  Association. 

Captain  Birger  Johnsen,  now  dead,  came  from  Norway  to  New 
York  in  1930.  He  was  known  as  a  skillful  and  daring  flyer,  but  he  failed 
to  become  connected  with  an  enterprise  that  would  give  him  wide  pub- 

Thor  Solberg  was  in  his  youth  a  daring  motorcycle  champion,  and 
later  he  became  a  resourceful  flyer.  In  1935  he  finally  realized  his  am- 
bition to  fly  from  New  York  to  Norway.  He  went  by  way  of  Labrador, 
Greenland,  Iceland  and  the  Faroe  Islands  to  Bergen.  This  trip  will  be 
of  great  importance  in  the  planning  of  the  future  route  across  the  Atlan- 
tic. Solberg's  flying  machine,  on  the  trip  across,  was  left  by  him  at  Bygd0 
Museum,  Oslo.  He  is  a  life  member  of  the  Explorers'  Club,  New  York. 
Solberg  now  has  an  airport  in  New  Jersey. 

The  winter  sports — skiing  and  skating — of  the  Olympic  Games  for 
1932  were  to  take  place  at  Lake  Placid,  New  York,  but  it  looked  as  if, 
for  economic  reasons,  there  would  be  no  Norwegian  participation.  In 
order  to  overcome  this  handicap,  the  Norwegian  -  American  Olympic 
Committee  was  formed  with  Major  Sigurd  J.  Arnesen  as  chairman.  The 
Committee  succeeded  in  collecting  more  than  $15,000,  which  went  to 
defray  the  expenses  of  the  eighteen  sportsmen  plus  managers,  trainers, 
etc.  A  hotel  was  rented  at  Lake  Placid  and  Norwegian  service  installed, 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

so  that  skiers  and  skaters  felt  right  at  home.  It  is  needless  to  say  that 
they  did  splendidly  in  the  competition.  When  the  Games  were  over,  the 
Olympic  Committee  allied  itself  with  other  organizations  to  meet  the 
ravages  of  the  depression  among  the  Norwegian  people. 

Late  in  1929  the  depression  struck  the  United  States  with  full  force, 
and  virtually  everybody,  from  the  multi-millionaire  down  to  the  day 
laborer,  felt  the  effect  of  the  blow.  The  value  of  stocks  tumbled,  real 
estate  became  unsalable,  people  could  not  meet  their  obligations,  business 
stagnated,  salaries  and  wages  were  reduced,  and  unemployment  became 
widespread.  This  condition  lasted  for  about  ten  years,  with  some  gradu- 
al tapering  off  during  the  last  years.  The  worst  years  were  1932,  1933 
and  1934,  when  about  12  million  men  in  the  United  States  with  their 
families  had  to  be  taken  care  of  by  public  and  private  charity.  The  Nor- 
wegian group  in  New  York  was  hit  hard,  because  shipping  was  greatly 
reduced  and  no  construction  of  housing  was  going  on.  In  1933  it  was 
estimated  that  7,000  Norwegian  persons  in  Brooklyn  were  in  need  of 
relief.  However,  there  were  two  large  and  efficient  institutions,  the  Nor- 
wegian Lutheran  Welfare  Association,  Rev.  C.  O.  Pedersen  rector, 
which  took  care  of  families,  and  the  Bethesda  Mission,  Bernt  Kollevoll 
superintendent,  which  devoted  itself  to  single  men.  Both  these  institu- 
tions did  excellent  work.  The  Norwegian  Emergency  Relief  Committee, 
A.  N.  Rygg  chairman,  and  the  Olympic  Committee,  mentioned  above, 
devoted  themselves  to  the  solicitation  of  funds  for  the  two  other  organi- 
zations. A  festival,  arranged  by  the  Norwegian-America  Line,  Peter 
Berge  manager,  on  board  the  Stavangerjjord,  brought  in  about  $1,200. 
The  Salvation  Army,  Captain  Fritz  Nielsen,  used  the  large  old  side- 
wheeler  Broadway  as  a  lodging  house  for  hundreds  of  men.  In  this 
manner,  the  Norwegian  group  managed  to  get  through  the  long  drawn- 
out  crisis  without  too  much  suffering. 

It  was  during  this  period  that  the  city  dump  at  the  foot  of  Columbia 
Street  (0rkenen  Suhr)  acquired  a  dubious  fame  as  a  place  where  home- 
less Norwegians  lived  in  miserable  huts  on  an  old  dump. 

It  is  needless  to  say  that  the  depression  caused  the  Norwegian  group 
to  lose  its  normal  initiative  for  a  number  of  years. 

There  were,  as  will  be  seen,  both  joyous  and  troublous  days  ahead. 
Particularly  for  the  Norwegian  group  in  New  York,  1939  was  a  year  of 
unusual  and  great  festivities.  Crown  Prince  Olav  and  Crown  Princess 



Martha  of  Norway  arrived  on  board  the  Oslojjord,  one  of  the  last  days 
of  April,  to  officiate  at  the  opening  of  the  Norwegian  Pavilion  at  the 
New  York  World's  Fair,  and  to  tour  the  country  from  coast  to  coast.  As 
many  Norwegian  centers  as  possible  were  visited,  and  the  Crown  Prince 
couple  proved  to  be  immensely  popular  wherever  they  appeared.  The 
Norwegian  Student  Singers  Association  and  the  beautiful  training  ship 
Christian  Radich  were  in  New  York  simultaneously  with  the  Crown 
Prince  party  and  helped  to  add  to  the  general  festivities. 

On  the  General  Committee  of  Welcome,  Major  S.  J.  Arnesen  was 
general  chairman,  with  Minister  Wilhelm  Morgenstierne  and  Consul 
General  Rolf  A.  Christensen  as  honorary  chairmen.  Dr.  A.  N.  Rygg  was 
master  of  ceremonies  at  the  Welcome  Festival  in  the  Metropolitan  Opera 
House,  where  an  audience  of  4,500  was  present.  This  is  said  to  have  been 
the  largest  indoor  gathering  of  Norwegians  that  has  ever  met  in  New 
York.  There  were  speeches  by  Senator  Henrik  Shipstead,  Minister  Wil- 
helm Morgenstierne,  and  His  Royal  Highness  Crown  Prince  Olav;  Ole 
Windingstad  conducted  the  orchestra;  Borgny  Hammer  recited  Bj0rn- 
son's  Bergliot,  and  Adolf  Andersen  read  the  prologue,  which  was  written 
by  Rev.  C.  O.  Pedersen.  It  was  an  inspiring  and  memorable  gathering. 

The  great  open  air  meeting  in  Leiv  Eiriksson  Square,  where  per- 
haps 15,000  persons  had  an  opportunity  to  greet  their  Royal  Highnesses, 
was  arranged  by  Rev.  C.  O.  Pedersen. 

The  Norwegian  World's  Fair  authorities,  Fredrik  Odfjeld  com- 
missioner, gave  a  brilliant  dinner  at  the  Waldorf-Astoria,  at  which  1,000 
guests  were  present. 

It  is  a  strange  commentary  on  how  situations  can  change,  that  nine 
months  after  their  triumphant  tour  through  the  United  States,  their 
Royal  Highnesses  had  to  leave  Norway  in  order  to  avoid  being  made 
prisoners  by  the  Nazis.  And  Oslofjord,  the  pride  of  the  Norwegian 
Marine,  which  brought  the  Royal  couple  here  for  that  glorious  trip  and 
steamed  into  New  York  Harbor  with  flags  and  banners  waving  gaily  in 
the  wind,  hit  a  mine  and  lies  a  hopeless  wreck  on  the  east  coast  of 
England.  The  war  was  on,  and  on  April  9,  1940,  which  is  one  of  the 
blackest  days  in  Norwegian  history,  the  Nazis  invaded  the  country,  and 
Norway  had  to  take  up  arms  side  by  side  with  England  and  the  other 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

When  Norway  entered  the  war,  New  York  became  an  important 
center  of  Norwegian  activities. 

A  vigorous  Publicity  Bureau  was  established  at  the  Norwegian  Le- 
gation in  Washington,  under  the  direction  of  Hans  Olav.  It  was  the 
duty  of  this  Bureau  to  present  to  the  world  all  facts  concerning  Norway 
fairly  and  promptly.  A  broadcasting  station  at  Boston  kept  people  in 
Norway  informed  of  what  was  going  on  in  the  outside  world. 

Her  Royal  Highness  Crown  Princess  Martha  and  her  three  children, 
and  later  on  also  Crown  Prince  Olav,  found  a  safe  haven  on  this  side  of 
the  Atlantic,  at  Bethesda,  near  Washington,  D.  C. 

All  the  gold  that  the  Bank  of  Norway  had  in  its  possession  was  suc- 
cessfully spirited  out  of  the  country,  and  deposited  in  London,  New  York 
and  Canada,  to  the  credit  of  the  lawful  Government  of  Norway,  which, 
it  should  be  emphasized,  continues  to  meet  all  its  obligations,  even  if 
it  is  in  exile.  In  order  to  be  out  of  reach  of  the  Nazis,  King  Haakon  also 
took  up  his  abode  in  London. 

The  Norwegian  Merchant  Marine,  owned  by  a  large  number  of  in- 
dividual Norwegians,  was  taken  over  by  the  Government,  which  estab- 
lished the  Norwegian  Shipping  and  Trade  Mission  to  manage  this 
fleet,  consisting  of  nearly  1,000  modern  ships  with  a  capacity  of  about 
four  million  tons.  This  Commission  became,  for  the  time  being,  the 
largest  company  of  shipowners  in  the  world,  and  it  had  a  personnel  of 
more  than  200  at  its  offices  in  New  York.  The  ships  were  mostly  in  the 
service  of  the  British.  It  has  been  said  in  England  that  this  fine  fleet, 
with  its  25,000  Norwegian  seamen,  was  worth  more  than  a  million  men 
to  Great  Britain. 

During  the  fighting  in  Norway,  which  lasted  for  about  two  months, 
a  loss  of  65,000  men  had  been  inflicted  on  the  Germans.  The  Norwegian 
Government  and  99  per  cent  of  the  people  were  determined  to  resist  the 
Nazis  and  fight  on  until  freedom  and  independence  were  again  achieved. 
Training  camps  for  flyers  were  established  at  Toronto  and  Vancouver, 
and  one  for  seamen  was  opened  at  Halifax.  Norwegian  seamen  in  small 
war  vessels,  whaleboats  and  other  small  craft,  were  patrolling  the  English, 
Irish  and  Icelandic  coasts  and  were  also  keeping  watch  around  New- 
foundland and  in  the  Caribbean.  Four  of  the  fifty  destroyers  sent  by  the 
United  States  to  England  were  transferred  to  the  Norwegian  flag,  and 
a  small,  but  excellent  Norwegian  Army  was  built  up  in  Scotland.  These 



forces  stood  ready  to  go  back  to  Norway  and  do  battle  with  the  Ger- 
mans at  the  earliest  possible  moment. 

During  the  war  a  large  number  of  Norwegians  in  public  life  found 
their  way  to  New  York  on  errands  for  their  Government. 

Early  in  the  war  the  motorship  Knute  Nelson,  of  the  Fred  Olsen 
Line,  succeeded  in  saving  430  passengers  from  the  British  steamer 
Athenia,  which  had  been  sunk  in  the  North  Atlantic  by  a  German  sub- 
marine. Captain  C.  J.  Andersen  of  the  Knute  Nelson  was  awarded  a 
plaque  with  inscription  by  the  British  Government. 

When  the  news  reached  the  United  States  that  Norway  had  been 
invaded  and  occupied  by  the  Germans,  steps  were  immediately  taken  by 
the  Norwegian-Americans  to  help  alleviate,  in  a  measure,  the  suffering 
of  the  population  in  many  districts,  caused  by  the  brutal  warfare.  A 
national  organization  —  Norwegian  Relief,  Inc.  —  was  established  at 
Chicago,  111.,  and  all  over  the  land  local  committees  were  formed  to 
collect  money  for  the  purpose  mentioned.  The  Norwegian  Relief  Com- 
mittee in  the  Metropolitan  Area  and  the  State  of  New  York  distinguished 
itself  by  a  vigorous  and  persistent  campaign.  When  the  fund  in  the 
national  treasury  in  Chicago  in  May,  1941,  had  reached  half  a  million 
dollars,  New  York  had  contributed  about  $160,000,  or  30  per  cent  of 
the  total  amount.  The  officers  of  the  Committee  were  Rodney  T.  Martin- 
sen,  chairman;  Peter  Berge,  vice-chairman;  Rev.  C.  O.  Pedersen,  secre- 
tary, and  Dr.  A.  N.  Rygg,  treasurer.  The  work  was  to  a  considerable 
extent  hampered  by  the  fact  that  many  people  were  afraid  that  the  money 
would  fall  into  the  hands  of  the  Germans.  It  also  proved  to  be  difficult 
to  send  needed  goods  into  Norway,  as  the  British  were  maintaining  a 
strict  blockade  in  an  attempt  to  keep  foodstuffs  away  from  the  Germans. 
This  had,  of  course,  a  discouraging  effect  on  the  campaign  for  funds.  It 
should  also  be  remembered  that  many  of  our  people  had  not  yet  recov- 
ered from  the  effects  of  the  severe  depression  and  could  not  contribute  as 
freely  as  they  otherwise  would  have  done.  However,  the  campaign  is 
still  going  on,  and  the  results,  no  doubt,  will  be  satisfactory  in  the  long 

It  goes  without  saying  that  the  Nazis  resorted  to  the  strictest  censor- 
ship in  Norway.  No  free  expression  of  opinions  was  permitted.  The  post 
and  telegraph  services  and  other  means  of  communication  were  put 
under  minute  control  and  if  the  newspapers  did  not  fall  in  line  and  ac- 


Norwegians  in  New  York 

cept  Nazi  teachings,  they  were  suppressed  and  put  out  of  business  and 
the  editors  sent  to  jail. 

Under  such  circumstances,  the  Norwegian-American  newspapers 
came  to  be  of  vital  importance,  as  they  could,  without  hindrance,  dis- 
seminate truthful  and  undoctored  information  to  all  interested.  This  was 
of  great  help  in  keeping  up  the  spirit  of  the  Norwegians  at  home  and 
abroad.  In  particular  Nordisf^  Tidende  (Major  S.  J.  Arnesen,  publisher, 
and  Carl  J.  S0yland,  editor),  at  the  strategic  point  of  New  York  was 
in  a  position  to  render  excellent  service.  From  sailors  and  refugees,  from 
other  people  who  had  special  information  to  communicate,  and  from 
letters  smuggled  out  of  the  country,  the  paper  managed  to  secure  valu- 
able and  exact  data  concerning  conditions  in  Norway.  This  often  made 
the  Nazi  censorship  look  ridiculous. 

At  this  point,  we  had  better  come  to  a  full  stop  with  our  history  of 
Norwegians  in  Netv  Yo>\.  The  war  is  on,  the  world  is  topsy-turvy,  and 
we  know  not  what  lies  ahead.  Our  most  fervent  well-wishes  for  that 
industrious,  thrifty,  law-abiding,  dependable,  honest,  intelligent,  and  pro- 
gressive body  of  Norwegian  men  and  women,  whom  I  have  tried  to  de- 
pict in  the  preceding  pages.  May  they  always,  in  a  full  measure,  get  what 
they  so  richly  deserve! 


Aanonsen,  Aanon,  early  Brooklyn- 
ite,  14. 

Aas,  Orlando  Martinsen,  Cohoes, 

Aasen,  yacht  captain,  248. 
Across  the  Atlantic  in  1837,  4. 
Adams,  John  Quincy,  1. 
Admiral  Olaf  M.  Hustvedt,  244. 
Admiral  P.  C.  Assersen,  50. 
Alvestad,  T.  J.,  Rev.,  Union  Hill, 

Ambrosen,  Euphrosyne  B.,  145. 

American  Arctic  Company,  223. 

American  Merchant  Marine,  33,  132. 

America's  Making,  3,  220. 

America's  Making,  articles  by  vari- 
ous authors,  H.  Sundby-Hansen, 
editor,  220. 

American-Scandinavian  Foundation, 
86,  123,  163,  165,  194,  228. 

American-Scandinavian  M.  E. 
Church,  Buffalo,  256. 

American-Scandinavian  Review, 
86,  107. 

Amerikaferd,  6,  169,  225. 

Amundsen,  A.  John,  Rev.,  Corning, 

Amundsen,  Roald,  185,  195,  209, 

217,  218,  220,  237,  256. 
Andersen,  Arthur,  87. 
Andersen,  Aksel  Pauli,  engineer, 

164,  165. 
Andersen,  A.  S.,  14,  22,  23. 
Andersen,  Hans,  rescue,  235. 
Andersen,  Haakon,  Scandia  Heights, 

N.  J.,  252. 
Andersen,  H.  C,  Rev.,  Teaneck, 


Andersen,  Henrik  Christian,  sculp- 
tor, 200. 

Andersen,  Johannes,  wood  pulp, 

180,  18  L,  229. 
Andersen,  Karl,  captain,  rescue,  110. 
Andersen,  Karl  Edvard,  captain,  229. 
Andersen,  John  Henry,  65. 

Andersen,  Captain  Magnus,  49,  78, 
79,  104,  105,  106,  137,  139. 

Andersen,  Prof.  Olaf,  167. 

Andersen,  Oscar,  circus  performer, 

Andersen,  Peter  M.,  98,  120. 
Andersen,  Robert  M.,  98,  251. 
Anderson,  Rasmus  B.,  Prof.,  58,  79. 
Andersen,  Stell,  pianist,  200. 
Anderson,  Isaac,  journalist,  208. 
Andreassen,  Lars,  captain,  257. 
Andresen,  Ivar,  basso,  198. 
Andriessen,  Albert,  65. 
Anson,  Cap,  14,  15. 
Anson  Family,  14. 
Anson,  John,  14,  106. 
Ariadne,  brig,  1 1. 

Arnesen,  Sigurd,  J.,  Major,  85,  133. 
174,  181,  184,  191,  202,  210, 
213,  220,  236,  237,  273,  278. 

Arnessen,  Axel,  electrical  engineer, 

Arveschou,  Albert,  singer,  117,  119. 

Asbjornsen,  Sigvald,  sculptor,  122. 

Asborn,  Captain,  188. 

Asche,  H.  T.,  importer,  180,  181, 
184,  233,  234. 

Aske-Bergh,  Mrs.,  weavings,  236. 

Asperheim,  Rev.  Ole,  first  seamen's 
pastor,  103. 

Asserson  Family,  50. 

Asserson,  Rear  Admiral  Peter  C,  50. 

Associations  to  take  care  of  social 
requirements,  78. 

Astor,  John  Jacob,  8,  19. 

Astor,  Magdalene,  first  dollar  prin- 
cess, 19,  20. 

Atlaksen,  Aanon,  religious  leader, 

Atlantic  Total  Abstinence  Society, 

Aune,  Kathrine,  pianist,  196. 
Aurora,  brig,  11. 
Axelson,  Ole,  contractor,  174. 
Baardsen,  Andreas,  artist,  201. 



Bache,  Soren,  pioneer,  9. 
Bakke,  Jorgen,  in  Navy,  130. 
Bakke,  Nils,  Dr.,  Hoboken,  251. 
Bakke,  Rev.  Oscar,  41,  184. 
Balchen,  skipper,  2. 
Balchen,  Bernt,  Captain,  85,  210, 

272,  273. 
Balling,  Ole  Peder  Hansen,  43,  49, 

63,  144. 
Balling's  paintings,  48,  49. 
Banana  Trade,  33,  34. 
Bank  of  Norway,  276. 
Barber  Andersen,  journalist,  13  3. 
Barclay,  Leif  Norman,  killed  in 

World  War,  187. 
Barclay,  Hjalmar  V.,  Dr.,  149,  187. 
Barth,  Carl  G.,  engineer,  163. 
Barth,  Trygve,  182,  186,  190. 
Barton,  A.  O.,  11. 
Battle  of  Long  Island,  68. 
Bay,  Charles  Ulrick,  234. 
Bay,  Frederick  Raymond,  233. 
Bay  Ridge,  67,  68,  101,  141,  265. 
Behrens,  Captain,  4. 
Bendixen,  Bernhard  S.,  98,  246. 
Bendixen,  Chris.,  174,  242. 
Benham  &  Boyesen,  ship  brokers, 

32,  33,  115,  230,  241. 
Bennett  Travel  Bureau,  217. 
Bergdahl,  Stephen  and  Hallvard, 

Lake  Telemark,  223. 
Berge,  P.,  Captain,  79,  106,  175. 
Berge,  Peter,  90,  171,  172,  181, 

213,  274,  277. 
Bergen,  2,  4,  7,  53,  69. 
Bergen  Association,  81. 
Bergensfjord,  171. 
Berger,  Bernt,  engineer,  163,  230. 
Bergh,  Arthur,  musician,  199. 
Berntsen,  Olette,  Sister,  Soudan, 


Bentzon,  Adrian  Benjamin,  19,  20. 

Bergen  Family,  69,  71. 

Bergen,  Hans  Hansen,  69. 

Bergen  House,  69. 

Bergenske  Merkur,  4. 

Berkely  Heights  Development  Cor- 

poration,  252. 
Berlin  Mills,  N.  H.,  257. 
Bersagel,  Andreas,  Rev.,  102,  155. 

Bertuch,  Frederick  &  Company, 

paper  and  wood  pulp,  230. 
Berven,  Hardis,  actress,  201. 
Bethany  Congregation,  96. 
Bethany  Mission,  96. 
Bethelship  Mission,  36,  38. 
Bethesda  Mission,  92,  175,  274. 
Bible,  printed  in  New  York,  36. 
Bie,  Emil,  83. 

Bie,  S0ren  Juell,  79,  115,  174,  186. 

Bien,  illustrated  weekly,  San  Fran- 
cisco, 251. 

Birkcland,  Harald,  boarding  house 
runner,  23. 

Bjorlee,  Dr.  Ignatius,  166. 

Bj0rn,  Frederick  Nannestad,  Dr., 

Bjerk,  Dr.  Kenneth,  161. 
Bjarndal,  Magnus,  161. 
Bjarnson,  Bjorn,  actor,  267. 
Bjornson,  Bjornstjerne,  58,  63,  136, 

147,  275. 
Blegen,  Prof.  Theo.  C,  1,  2,  45,  87. 
Blessum,  Ben,  222. 
Blix,  Fredrik  Abraham,  27. 
Blix,  Captain  Louis,  27,  79,  125, 


Blue  Cross  Society,  174. 

Boarding  masters  and  runners,  104. 

Bockman,  Emil,  marble,  230. 

Boe,  V.  E.,  Rev.,  102,  154. 

Boe,  Lars  W.,  Dr.,  president  St. 

Olaf  College,  219. 
Bondeungdomslaget,  201,  202. 
Bookmaker  at  race  tracks,  53. 
Boomer,  Mrs.  Lucius  M.,  148. 
Bore,  Enok,  hatmaker,  Orange, 

N.  J.,  250. 
Bordewick,  Henry,  53. 
Bourne,  Frederick  G.,  59. 
Boyesen,  Hjalmar  Hjort,  author,  58, 

62,  79. 

Boyesen,  Ingolf,  attorney,  62. 
Boyesen,  Saroff,  62. 
Braathe,  Ebba,  piano,  199. 
Brauner,  Olaf  M.,  painter, 

Ithaca,  N.  Y.,  194. 
Brechlin,  Lina,  Sister,  90. 
Breidvik,  Mons,  artist,  195. 
"Bridges"  between  Norway  and 



U.S.,  169. 
Bronck,  Jonas,  157. 
Bronx,  13. 

Bremer,  Frederika,  Swedish 

author,  13. 
Breuekelen,  2. 
Brooklyn,  2,  13,  14,  22. 
Brooklyn  Bridge,  14,  67. 
Brooklyn  Heights,  13. 
Brooklyn  Museum,  Norwegian 

applied  art,  195. 
Brun,  C.  J.,  Rev.,  101. 
Bruun,  Alexander,  15. 
Bruun,  Lars,  with  Paul  Jones,  30. 
Bryde,  Captain  G.  M.,  Mexico 

Line,  172. 
Bryn,  Harald,  Dr.,  150. 
Bryn,  Minister  Helmer,  180,  237, 


Brynhildsen,  Ask,  a  rescue,  242. 
Buchanan,  President,  28. 
Buffalo,  N.Y.,  256. 
Bulekomiteen,  32. 
Bull,  Alexander,  56,  58. 
Bull,  Johan,  illustrator,  194. 
Bull,  Ole  B.,  Captain,  57,  171. 
Bull,  Oscar,  Captain,  245. 
Bull,  Ole,  14,  55-58,  63,  197. 
Bull  (Ole)  Piano  Company,  57. 
Bull-Teilman,  Gunvor,  artist,  195. 
Borresen,  Bertinius,  34. 
Bors,  Anna,  Mrs.,  60,  88,  90. 
Bye,  Erik,  baritone,  198. 
Bohm,  John  F.,  221. 
Bors,  Consul  Christian,  40,  59-61, 

68,  88,  106,  118,  230. 
Cagney,  James,  film  actor,  200. 
Calvert,  Anna  Gulbrandsen, 

singer,  207. 
Calvert,  Bruce,  editor  and 

lecturer,  207. 
Camp  Norge,  91,  155. 
Camp  Upton,  184. 
Cappelen  Smith,  E.  A.,  91,  161- 

162,  181,  184,  237. 
Carlsen,  Martin,  pioneer  in 

Greenpoint,  65. 
Casey,  James,  see  J.  C.  H. 

Washmuth,  51-52. 
Castle  Garden,  22,  40. 

Catskill  Mountains,  141. 
Cavalcade,  an  enormous,  272. 
Centennial  button  showing 

Restaurationen,  238. 
Centennial  Celebration,  196, 

Chaillu,  Paul  du,  76. 
Chamber  of  Commerce,  180-181, 

183,  217. 
Changing  of  names,  52. 
Charitable  institutions,  88. 
Chicago,  3,  63,  138. 
China  Charley,  boarding  house 

runner,  23. 
Christensen,  Chris,  yacht  captain, 


Christensen,  General  C.  T.,  43-46. 
Christensen,  Erick  T.,  115,  135, 

170,  186. 
Christensen,    Rolf   A.,  Consul 

General,  106,  108,  181,  215, 

232,  239,  240,  275. 
Christian,  Harry  L.,  15. 
Christian  Home  for  Orphan 

Children,  Fort  Lee,  N.  J.,  253. 
Christian  Male  Chorus,  82,  119. 
Christian  Memorial,  16. 
Christiansen,  Carl  Alfred,  chief 

armorer,  147. 
Christiansen,    Christie  T., 

captain  Coast  Guard,  245. 
Christiansen,  Karl,  in  Navy,  130. 
Christiansen,  Dr.  Melius,  219. 
Christiansen,  Soren,  143. 
Christophersen,  Erling,  83,  183. 
Christophersen,  Soren,  Captain, 


Churches,  95. 

Church  element,  a  constructive 

force,  88. 
Church  members,  what  percentage 

of  population,  268. 
Citizens,  what  percentage  of 

population,  268. 
Citizenship,  Norwegian,  145. 
Civil  War,  3,  18,  27,  38,  49,  51, 

53,  169,  260. 
Clark,  Alfred  Corning,  59,  60. 
Clausen,  Otto,  singer,  200. 
Coffee  trade  from  Java,  112. 



Coast  Guard,  U.  S.,  131. 
Cohoes,  N.  Y.,  253. 
Colcord,  Lincoln,  author,  122. 
Common  Council  for  American 

Unity,  191. 
Concordia,  songbook,  102. 
Concrete  ships,  188. 
Conradi,  Letten,  Mrs.,  84. 
Conradsen,  Conrad  M.,  engineer, 


Corning,  N.  Y.,  255. 

Court  Leif  Erickson,  society, 

76-77,  215. 
Criminal  Statistics,  142. 
Crossing  the  Atlantic,  137-140. 
Crown  Prince  Couple,  193,  215, 

259,  262,  274,  276. 
Cultural  contacts  with  Norway,  86. 
Cultural  Standards,  267. 
Cunard  Line,  5. 
Dahl,  Anders,  Civil  War 

veteran,  46,  66. 
Dahl,  Gerhard  Melvin,  228. 
Dahl,  G.  M.,  school  for  machinists, 


Dahl,  Myrtle,  148: 
Dahl,  Odd,  scientist,  260. 
Dahle,  Leif,  Manhasset  Yacht 

Club,  249. 
Dahlen,  Henry  A.,  251. 
Dahlerup,  Baron  Joost,  18,  19. 
Dahm-Petersen,  Adolf,  singer  and 

song  pedagogue,  126. 
Dancers,  202. 

Darbo,  Erica,  dramatic  soprano, 

Davick,  C.  A.,  Rev.,  Hoboken, 

Dawson,  Miles  Menander, 

translator  of  Kielland  and 

Ibsen,  205. 
Day  Nursery,  Norwegian 

Lutheran,  91. 
Depression,  the  great,  264,  274. 
Desertions  from  ships,  25. 
Det  norske  Selskap  i  District  of 

Columbia,  258. 
Deutschland,  submarine,  outside 

New  York,  189. 
Dickesen,  William  T.  W., 

immigrant  in  1776,  19. 
Dieserud,  Juul,  librarian,  10,  11, 

258,  259. 
Dietrichsen,  I.  L.  P.,  Rev.,  154, 


Dietrichson,  Rev.  J.  W.  C,  36. 
Dirck,  the  Norman,  64. 
Disaster  on  Lake  Erie,  25. 
Distress  to  contend  with,  89. 
Dovre  Mountain,  society,  Staten 

Island,  155. 
Doxrud,  H.  D.  K.,  Captain,  109, 


Drewsen,  Gudrun  Lochen, 

suffragette  and  author,  205. 
Dronningen,    1,000  tonner, 

emigrant  ship,  229. 
Dundas,  Johan  Christian 

Brotkorb,  16. 
Dybvig,  Johan,  contractor,  148. 
Ebbesen,  Just,  disappeared  for 

sixty  years,  156. 
Ebenezer,  schooner,  11. 
Edwards,  John,  Captain,  114. 
Eger,  Carl  Michael,  86,  91. 
Eger  Norwegian  Lutheran  Home 

for  the  Aged,  92,  149,  251,  267. 
Eide,  Knud  Olsen,  died  in  N.  Y. 

in  1825,  2. 
Eielsen,  Elling,  3  5,  36. 
Eielson,  Carl  Ben,  flyer,  214,  273. 
Eiesland,  John,  professor,  189. 
Einarsen,  George,  old  settler,  153. 
Einarsen,  Thord,  Hoboken,  250. 
Einksson,  Leiv,  13,  49,  137,  190, 

208,  215,  216,  220. 
Ekeland,  Gudrun,  soprano,  198. 
Ekeland,  Jon,  Rev.,  seamen's 

pastor,  103,  120. 
Eliasen,  Rudolf  and  Maren,  188. 
Elisabeth,  Sister,  88. 
Elizabeth,  N.  J.,  252. 
Elkhound  at  the  White  House, 


Elkhounds  from  Telemark,  223 
Ellen,  Bark,  a  Rescue,  28. 
Ellida,  emigrant  ship,  5. 
Elligers,  Johan,  Captain,  113. 
Ellis  Island,  23. 



Ellsworth,  Lincoln,  explorer,  237, 

Elstad,  Sigurd,  pearl  expert,  235. 
Elven,  steamer,  rescue  of,  107. 
Emigrant,  bark,  12. 
Emigranten,  early  newspaper,  16, 

Emile,  Anders,  musician,  155,  199. 
Emilia,  emigrant  ship,  4. 
Engineers,  165. 

Engelsen,  John,  Good  Templar, 

Enigheden,  emigrant  ship,  4. 
Ericksen,  Charles  F.,  athlete,  81. 
Ericksen,  Emil,  42,  90. 
Ericksen,  Jacob,  119,  213. 
Ericsson,  John,  inventor,  63. 
Erie  Canal,  2,  17,  138. 
Eriksen,  Einar,  engineer,  165. 
Eriksen,  Jacob,  pilot,  31. 
Erickson,  Hjalmar,  colonel,  130. 
Everson,  Rev.  Carl  S.,  40,  88, 

94,  103,  105,  154. 
Evinrude  and  Elto  motors,  210. 
Evjen,  Prof.  John  O.,  54,  64,  71. 
Exports  to  Norway,  181. 
Fair  Winds,  magazine,  241. 
Falnes,  Prof.  Oscar  J.,  167. 
Fauchald,  Nora,  soprano,  198. 
Fay,  Hans,  Minister,  93,  107, 

183-184,  213,  231. 
Fedde,  Mrs.  Anna,  174,  176. 
Fedde,  Bernhard  A.,  M.D.,  97. 
Fedde,  Elisabeth,  Sister,  90. 
Fedde,  Gabriel,  88,  95,  97. 
Fedde,  Nathanael,  M.D.,  97. 
Fenstad,  Emil  A.,  musician  and 

composer,  121-122. 
Fifteenth  Wisconsin  Regiment, 


Figved,  Peter,  fish  products,  222, 
Fine  Arts,  192. 

Finne,  William  L.,  architect,  253. 
Fire  at  Aalesund,  144. 
Fishermen  and  their  boats,  247. 
Fjeldblomsten,  society,  82,  143. 
Fjelde,  Astrid,  soprano,  196. 
Fjelde,  Jakob,  58,  196. 
Fjelde,  Paul,  sculptor,  196. 
Fjeldheim,  Magnhild,  soprano,  198 

Fjelleventyret,  play,  201. 
Flagstad,  Kirsten,  opera  singer, 

Flatabo,  Olav,  painter,  195. 
Flom,  Prof.  George  T.,  3. 
Flood,  Simon  W.,  captain,  111. 
Folgero,  Gerhard,  captain,  139. 
Folk  dancing,  201-202. 
Folkestad,  Sigurd,  editor  and 

author,  134,  205. 
Folstad,  Edward,  artist,  194-195. 
Fonkalsrud,  A.  O.,  Dr.,  175. 
Foreign  Language  Information 

Bureau,  191. 
"Fortune,"  Melting  Pot,  265. 
Foss,  Arne,  Staten  Island,  155. 
Foss,  Birger,  hospital  manager,  90. 
Fougner,   G.   Selmer,  journalist, 


Fougner,  Nick  K.,  concrete  ships, 

Fox,  rowboat,  across  Atlantic, 

Fox  River,  111.,  2. 
Frederickson,  F.  Lyder,  painter, 


Free  Churches  on  Staten  Island, 

Freidig,   Daughters   of  Norway, 

86,  157. 
Frembringeren,   schooner,  in 

Philadelphia  in  1828,  2. 
Fremstad,  Olive,  opera  singer,  121. 
Friele,  Bernt,  181,  228. 
Friele,  Haakon,  salmon  industry, 


Friis,  Hans,  captain,  27. 
Frohlin,  Alfred,  Staten  Island,  154. 
Frohlin,  John,  152-153,  154. 
Fatdrelandet,  ketch,  from  Norway, 

Furst,  Mrs.  John,  42. 

Furuseth,  Andrew,  leader  of  the 

seamen,  25,  107,  113. 
Forde,  Agnes,  soprano,  198. 
Gabrielsen,  August,  captain,  188. 
Gabrielsen,  Erik  M.,  captain,  53. 
Gabrielsen,  Gunnerius,  40,  49,  63, 


Gade,  Herman  F.,  145,  146,  170, 




Gade,  John  A.,  94,  120,  146,  157, 

180,  194,  237. 

Gahn,  Henrik,  consul,  1,  2. 
Gaspe,  tragedy  at,  263. 
Gaustad,  Ingrid,  3. 
Gautesen,  Gustav,  yacht  captain, 

Gavel  made  of  wood  from  Viking 

ship,  79. 
Gcruldsen,  Hjalmar  and  Signe, 


Gifts  to  soldiers  in  World  War, 

Gintzler,  Morris,  wood  pulp,  180, 

181,  230. 
"Gjenboerne,"  Hostrup,  21. 
Gjerdrum,  Jorgen,  visitor  from 

Norway,  23,  40,  41,  68. 
Gjerset,  Prof.  Knut,  2,   16,  87, 

206,  268. 
Gjoa,  Sporting  Club,  80,  81. 
Goetzke,  Otto,  jeweler,  252. 
Good  Templar  Lodges,  173. 
Gothenburg,  3,  6. 
Gran,  Albert,  actor,  200. 
Grimso,  Anders,  pilot,  from 

Norway,  139. 
Gromstu,  Torgus  Torkelsen,  old 

settler,  20. 
Grant  and  his  generals,  picture,  48. 
Grant,  Julia  D.,  letter  from,  48. 
Gravesend   Bay,   fishing  station, 


Great  Lakes,  3,  13,  34,  52,  138. 

Greenpoint,  64,  66. 

Grieg,   Edvard,   biographies,  123. 

Grieg  Music,  123. 

Grieg  Statue,  122. 

Gronli,  Alfred  M.,  captain,  244. 

Groth,  Peter,  Cand.  Mag.,  82,  83, 

144,  270. 
Grondahl,  L.  O.,  scientist,  167. 
Gulbrandsen,  Carl,  painter,  207. 
Gulbrandsen,  L.  T.,  Rev.,  seamen's 

pastor,  103. 
Gulbransen  Piano,  18,  75. 
Guldahl,  Ralph,  golf  champion, 


Guldberg,  Christian,  218. 

Gundersen,  A.  E.,  Rev.,  Soudan, 

Gundersen,    Dr.    Alfred,  curator, 

Gundersen,  Carl,  captain,  244. 
Gundersen,  H.  M.,  Rev.,  100,  105, 

Gundersen,  Isak,  Schenectady,  254. 
Gunsten,  Ole,  builder,  95,  97. 
Gurie,  Sigrid,  film  actress,  202. 
Gynt,  Peer,  performances  in  New 

York,  124. 
G0ytil,  Aasmund,  folk  dancer,  202. 
Haaeim,   Sjur  Jorgensen,  early 

immigrant,  6. 
Haakon    the    Seventh,    145,  200, 


Hagtvedt,  Karl  W.,  174. 
Hall,  J.  O.  professor,  206,  258. 
Hall,  Reinhard,  93. 
Halvorsen,  Edward  C,  16. 
Halvorsen,  Johan,  composer,  123. 
Halvorsen,  Helmer,  Rev.,  93,  100, 

Halvorsen,  S.  C,  captain,  111. 
Halvorsen,  Thomas,  early  settler, 
16,  75. 

Hambro,  C.  J.,  President  Norwegian 

Parliament,  6,  87,  225,  237. 
Hamilton,  N.  Y.,  255. 
Hamilton  Ave.,  14,  31-32,  33,  66. 
Hammer,  Borgny,  actress,  200-201, 

238,  275. 
Hammer,  Leif,  177. 
Hammer,  Rolf,  singer,  145,  201. 
Hammer,  Trygve,  sculptor,  195. 
Hamre,  Gustav,  149. 
Hannevig,    Christoffer,    83,  177- 

180,  182,  183,  186,  190,  217. 
Hannevig  Marine  Trust  Company, 


Hansen,  Albert  G.,  Rev.,  12. 
Hansen,  Rev.  Andrew,  38. 
Hansen,  Anna  Caspara,  9. 
Hansen,  Carl  G.  O.,  journalist  and 

musician,    16,  39. 
Hansen,    Christian,  editor 

Skandinavia,  10,  11. 
Hansen,  Conrad  A.,  168. 
Hansen,  Hans,   from  Bergen, 




Hansen,  Hans,  sailmaker,  34. 
Hansen,   Hans   Christian,  type 

foundry,  162. 
Hansen,  Harald,  boatswain,  249. 
Hansen,  Herman  N.,  attorney,  148, 


Hansen,  J.  C.  M.,  Dr.,  librarian, 

204-205,  258. 
Hansen,  Karl,  early  settler  in 

Schenectady,  255. 
Hansen,  Oscar  J.  W.,  sculptor,  262. 
Hans  Olav,  editor,  13  5,  232. 
Hanson,  Reinhardt  P.,  soldier,  188. 
Hanssen,  C.  A.,  85,  91,  94,  181, 

186,  202,  204,  225. 
Hansteen,  Carsten,  Rev.,  88,  103, 

104,  105. 
Harald  Haarfagre,  warship,  visits 

New  York,  222. 
Harbo,    Georg   G.,    rowed  across 

Atlantic,  139. 
Hardanger  embroidery,  149. 
Harris,  John,  early  merchant,  12. 
Harris,  Samuel,  captain,  245. 
Harrison,    John    Edward,  rescue, 


Hartwig,  Brigitta,  dancer,  202. 
Haslund,  Einar,  65. 
Havre,  3. 
Hebe-Olsen,  27. 

Hedda  Gabler  for  the  Blind,  124. 
Hedstrom,  Rev.  Oluf  Gustaf,  37. 
Heg,  Even  H.,  9. 
Heg,  Hans,  Colonel,  9,  44,  53,  196. 
Hegge,  H.  M.,  Rev.,  90,  96,  154, 

Hektoen,  Ludvig,  Dr.,  16. 
Helgesen,  Nels,  captain,  244. 
Helland,  Lars  Olsen,  2. 
Helland,  Ole  Oysteinson,  5. 
Helliesen,   George,   Inc.,  ship 

broker,  242. 
Hell-ships,  107. 
Helmer,  Alf,  corporal,  187. 
Helvig,  H.  A.  J.,  lantern  factory, 


Hendricks,  Annekcn,  70,  154. 
Henie,    Sonja,   skating  champion, 

Hendricksen,  Herman,  early 

emigrant,  53-54. 
Henriksen,  Gustav,  shipping 

expert,  170. 
Hermansen,    Zakkarias,  journalist, 


Herre,  Rev.,  J.  C,  32,  91,  93,  96, 

105,  184,  257. 
"Herring  Cove  at  Dawn," 

painting,  192. 
Hertzwig,  Olaf  N.,  importer,  181, 

186,  210,  233. 
Hiorth,  Jacob,  captain,  188. 
Historie,  Den   norske  sjofarts,  5. 
History  of  the  Norwegian  People, 


History  of  the  Norwegian  People 

in  America,  2. 
Hjortaas,  H.  Chr.,  journalist,  19. 
Hjordis,  Ladies'   Society,  80,  82. 
Hoen,  Peter  L.,  Adventist,  101. 
Hobe,  Consul  E.  H.,  170. 
Hoff,  Julius  N.,  85,  94. 
Hoff,  Olaf,  engineer,  162. 
Holand,  Hjalmar  R.,  3,  9. 
Holgersen,  Dirck,  64. 
Hohn,  Maia  Bang,  musician  and 

pedagogue,  197-198. 
Holland  Tunnel,  163. 
Holm,  Karl,  social  worker,  100. 
Holter,  Edwin  O.,  181,  186,  228. 
Horntvedt,  Anton,  school  for 

builders,  219. 
Howard,  A.  G.,  ski  expert,  210. 
Horsford,  Eben,  professor,  79. 
Huff,  Englebert,  early  settler,  19. 
Hughes,  Charles  Evan,  179. 
Hugstad,  Peter  H.,  old  settler,  11. 
Hunters  Point,  64,  66. 
Hustvedt,  Olaf  M.,  admiral,  244. 
Hvoslef,   Fredrik  Waldemar, 

captain,  112,  181,  186,  241. 
Hylan,  John  F.,  mayor,  213,  237. 
Hogh,  Thomas,  circus  performer, 

Heifjeld,  Johannes,  Rev.,  157. 
Ibsen  actresses,  124. 
Ibsen,  Henrik,  124,  252. 
Ibsen,  Tancred,  scenario  writer,  124. 
Ihlseng,  Anna  M.,  18. 



Ihlseng,  Lars  C,  pianomaker,  17, 

39,  57,  7?. 
Ihlseng,   Magnus  Colbjorn, 

professor,  18,  63. 
Immanuel  Congregation,  Bronx, 


Immigration  begins,  1. 
Immigration,  the  stoppage  of,  264. 
Immigration  Laws,  227. 
Immigration  to  Quebec,  60. 
Immigrants   being   swindled,  17. 
Importers  and  exporters,  233. 
Imports  from  Norway,  181. 
Indiana,  battleship,  127. 
Insurance,    the    first    attempt  at 

inexpensive  protection,  75. 
Insurance,  what  percentage  has, 


Inter-marriage,  267. 
Intime  Forum,  56,  206. 
Irgins,  K.  S.,  captain,  171. 
Irgens,  J.,  Foreign  Minister,  145, 

Isakson,  John,  soldier,  187. 
Iversen,  Erling,  architect,  235. 
Iversen,  I.  F.,  books,  77,  204. 
Iversen,  Inger,  15. 
Iversen,  Iver,  65,  91,  175. 
Iversen,  John,  66. 
Jahn,  Nicolay,  Baltimore,  153. 
Jahn,  Otto,  Staten  Island,  153. 
Jakobsen,  Carl,  a  rescue,  243. 
Jans,  Anneke,  Dutch  period,  70. 
Jensen,  Andreas  G.,  95,  97. 
Jensen,  Charles  K.,  yacht  captain, 

Jensen,  Erik  L.,  Rev.,  157. 
Jensen,  Morten,  captain,  156,  243. 
Jensen,  Peter,  captain,  114. 
Jeppesen  Family,  15. 
Jeppesen,  John,  stevedore,  15. 
Johannesen,  Axel,  gunner,  129. 
Johannesen,  Ole,  captain,  245. 
Johansen,  Peter,  249. 
Johansen,    Thorvald,    Rev.,  Fort 

Lee,  N.  J.,  253. 
Johnsen  of  Laurvig,  7. 
Johnsen,  Captain  Anders,  famous 

rescue,  28. 
Johnsen,  Birger,  flyer,  273. 

Johnsen,  Helmin,  29,  79,  106,  174. 
Johnsen,  Louis  M.,  "the  King  on 

the  Point",  77,  79. 
Johnsen,  Oluf,  ship  models,  34. 
Johnsen,    Vidkunn,    ship  broker, 


Johnson,  Alfred  A.,  agriculturist, 

Johnson,  David,  early  immigrant,  3. 
Johnson,  Reinhardt  L.  and  Erling 

L,  Scotia,  N.  Y.,  254. 
Johnson,  Thomas,  with  Paul  Jones, 


Johnswold,  Harald,  actor,  200. 

Jones,  Paul,  29-30. 

Jorvik,    which    became    York  in 

New  York,  2. 
Jullum,    Thormod,    captain,  111, 

186,  190,  220. 
Juul,  Rev.,  O.,  pioneer  clergyman, 

39,  40,  103,  169. 
Juno,  bark,  12. 

Jorgensen,  A.  O.,  captain,  244. 
Kalstad,  Marie  Astrup,  weavings, 

Karlsefni,  Thorfinn,  1,  215-216. 
Kartevold,  Theodor,  148,  237. 
Kendall,  New  York,  2. 
Kensington   Stone,  215. 
Kiaer,  Oluf,  83,  202,  220. 
Kielland,  Soren  Munch,  engineer, 

Kildal,  Arne,  87,  232,  237. 
Kmdberg,  A.  F.,  10. 
Kindleberger,  Olivia,  champion 

knitter,  190-191. 
Kjeldsen,  Sofus,  51,  150. 
Klagstad,  Arnold,  artist,  193. 
Klingenberg,  Alf,  pianist,  199. 
Kloster,  Kristoffer,  at  Gaspe,  263. 
Klaeggen,  publication,  135. 
Knudsen,    Knud,    describes  New 

York,  8. 
Knudson,  Albert  C,  Dr.,  102. 
Knute  Nelson,  steamer,  a  rescue, 


Koht,    Halvdan,    Life   of  Henrik 

Ibsen,  124. 
Kollevoll,  B.,  93,  106,  274. 
Koloniens  Argus,  newspaper,  135. 



Krag,  Vilhelm,  a  controversy,  190, 

Krag-Jorgensen  rifle,  63. 
Kristianiafjord,  went  ashore  1917, 

Kristiania  Group,  settlement  with, 

Krogh,  Chr.,  painter,  3,  195. 
Krogh,  Per,  painter,  19?. 
Krogstad,    Karl,    shipowner,  186, 

Kronprinsesse  Josephine,  sailing 

vessel,  2. 
Kvam,  Hans,  39,  7?. 
Kvande,  N.,  captain,  245. 
LaFollette,  Senator  Robert  M.,  113. 
LaGuardia,  mayor,  193,  215. 
Lange,  C.  C.  A.,  Dr.,  111. 
Lange,  Ove,  captain,  111,  180. 
Languages,  mixing  of,  270. 
Larsen,  August,  150. 
Larsen  Baking  Company,  228. 
Larsen,  Charles  E.,  85,  91,  228- 


Larsen,  C.  W.,  229. 

Larsen,  Hanna  Astrup,  editor, 

86-87,  134. 
Larsen,  Henrietta,  tragedy  on  Lake 

Erie,  26. 
Larsen,  John,  boat  builder,  114. 
Larsen,  Lars,  pioneer,  2. 
Larsen,  Prof.  Laur.,  39. 
Larsen,  Lauritz,  Dr.,  90,  100,  184, 


Larsen,  Magnus,  Long  Island  City, 

Larsen,  Peter,  builder,  Staten 

Island,  154,  155. 
Larsen,  Peter,  B.,  at  Castle  Garden, 


Larsen,  Tilford,  corporal,  187. 
Laurvig,  J.  Nielsen,  art  critic,  124. 

Leach,  Henry  Goddard,  Dr.,  86. 

Leden,  Christian,  explorer,  223. 

Lee,  Edward  O.,  banker,  149. 

Lee,  Henry  H.,  tugboats,  98. 

Leiv  Eiriksson,  Bautas  or  Boulders 
in  Leif  Eiriksson  Square,  Brook' 
lyn;  New  Rochelle,  and  Staten 

Island,  214-217. 
Leiv  Eiriksson  celebration,  the  first 

in  U.  S.,  79. 
Leiv  Eiriksson  Day,  79,  80. 
Leiv  Eiriksson  festivals,  78,  79,  82. 
Leiv  Eiriksson  Memorial 

Association,  214,  273. 
Leiv  Eiriksson,  a  projected 

monument,  214. 
Leiv  Eiriksson  Monument,  Chicago, 

Leiv  Eiriksson  Square,  213,  275. 
Leiv  Eiriksson,  statues  in  Boston, 

Milwaukee,  Chicago,  215,  216. 
Leiv  Ericson,  the  Truth  about,  208. 
Lexington  Subway  Tunnel,  162. 
Liberty  Bell,  in  Oslo,  145. 
"Liberty  Glo",  struck  by  mine,  252. 
Liberty  Loan  Campaigns,  190. 
Liberty  Parade,  190. 
Lie,  Emil,  sculptor,  196. 
Lie,  Jonas,  192,  196. 
Lie,  Sverre,  engineer,  63,  75,  192. 
Lifeboat  races,  246. 
Lincoln  about  the  Norwegians,  48. 
Lincoln,   President  Abraham,  47- 

48,  196. 
Lind,  Jenny,  12. 
Lind,  Wra.,  captain,  247. 
Lindbergh,  Congressman,  a  bust  of, 


Liquor  traffic,  175. 
Literature,  204-208. 
Lobben,  Peder,  book  for  mechanics, 

Lodges  of  Sons  of  Norway,  85. 
Longfellow,  Henry,  57. 
Ludwig's  Bogtrykkeri,  H.,  11. 
Lumholtz,  Carl  S.,  explorer,  165- 

Lund,   Charlotte,   singer,    52,  57, 

Lund,  Captain  Christian,  52. 
Lund,  Henrik,  folk  dancer,  201. 
Lund,  Henrik,  painter,  194. 
Lund,  Oscar,  65. 
Lund,  Signe,  composer,  185. 
Lutheran  Congregations,  41. 
Lutheran  Church,  Elizabeth,  252. 
Lutheran  Hospice  for  Women,  174. 



"Lutherland",  New  Jersey,  252. 
Lovenskjold,  Adam,  consul,  11,  16. 
Madison  County,  New  York,  255. 
Madsen,  Barney,  yacht  captain  ,248. 
Mallory,    Molla    Bjurstedt,  tennis 

champion,  209. 
Malmin,  Gunnar  J.,  6,  10,  11. 
Manhattan,  13. 

Manila  Bay,  battle  of,  128-129. 
Marcussen,  Marcus,  captain,  246. 
Marine  Engineers,  school  for,  219. 
Market  Slip,  12,  22. 
Market  Street,  New  York,  7,  22, 

40,  103. 
Massachusetts,  13. 
Martinsen,  K.,  captain,  241. 
Martinsen,   Rodney  T.,  attorney, 

85,  186,  213,  254,  277. 
Mathesen,  Reginald  Winge, 

policeman  and  singer,  115. 
Mathiasen,  Conrad,  captain,  243. 
Mathiesen,  Olaf  M.,  115. 
Mathiesen,  William,  53. 
Mathisen,  Peter,  captain,  156. 
McKinley,  William,  President,  29. 


Meland,  Peder  Eriksen,  2. 
Memorial  coins  and  stamps,  236. 
Merchant  Marine  Act,  132. 
Metropolitan  Museum  of  Art,  192, 

Metropolitan  Opera,  121,  198,  199. 
Metropolitan  Opera  House,  welcome 

to  Crown   Prince  couple,  275. 
Meyer,  J.  H.,  Rev.,  Hoboken,  250. 
Michaelsen,  M.  L.,  journalist,  5. 
Michelsen,  Rasmus  Michael,  112. 
Midnatsolen,  Sons  of  Norway,  216. 
Mikkelsen,  M.  A.,  Dr.,  208. 
Mikkelson,  Oluf,  210. 
Missing  Persons,  104. 
Mjelde,  Captain  M.  M.,  Vinland 

theories,  216,  217. 
Moe,  Carl  J.,  musician,  122. 
Moe,  Henry  Allen,  236. 
Moen,  Gustav,  fisherman  and  poet, 


Mohn,  Christian,  222. 

Mohr,  Hans,  56. 

Money  to  Norway,  225,  226. 

Monson,  J.  J.,  soldier,  188. 
Monson,  Rolf,  ski  expert,  210. 
Morgenraden,  boat,  246. 
Monrad-Johansen,  David,  standard 

work  on  Grieg,  123. 
Monssen,  Mons,  Lieutenant,  110. 
Monssen,  Mons,  Mrs.,  110. 
Monuments,  213. 
Mordt,  Trygve,  athlete,  188. 
Morgenbladet,  25,  45. 
Morgenstierne,  W.,  Minister,  87, 

179,  189,  193,  195,  215,  216, 

231,  236,  275. 
Mortensen,  Andreas,  Rev.,  88,  103. 
Mosby,  Olav,  chief  oceanographer, 

Coast  Guard,  131. 
Mosdale,  steamer,  a  rescue,  244. 
Motivating  forces,  271. 
Munch,  Edvard,  exhibition,  195. 
Munson  Institute  of  Music,  197. 
Munson,  Lawrence  J.,  musician, 

94,  97,  184,  197. 
Munson,  Louis,  97. 
Musaus,  John,  91,  99. 
Music,  "canned",  203 
Musical  events,  outstanding,  120. 
Myhr,  A.  F.,  druggist,  218. 
Nahatco,  hog  raising  farm,  near 

Oslo,  223. 
Nansen  Commission,  189,  190. 
Nansen,  Fridtjof,  Dr.,  189,  205, 

220,  221. 
Nansen  Ski  Club,  Berlin,  N.  H., 


Narvesen,  Conrad,  old  settler,  18, 

Narvesen  and  Ihlseng,  17. 
Narvesen,  Nick,  75,  76,  117. 
National  Lutheran  Council,  185. 
Neandross,  Sigurd,  sculptor,  196. 
Nelson,  Knute,  Senator,  16,  63, 

186,  258,  259. 
Nelson,  Nelson  B.,  232. 
Nelson,  N.  W.,  Rev.,  101. 
Neptune  Association,  246. 
Ness,  Nancy,  soprano,  199. 
Netland,  Peter,  Captain,  188. 
Neumann,  Bishop  Jacob,  advises 

against  emigration,  7. 
New  Norway,  Ole  Bull,  55. 



New  Amsterdam,  1,  52. 

Neupert,  Edmund,  pianist,  117,  119. 

New  Hampshire,  257. 

New  York  Daily  Advertiser,  1. 

New  York,  1,  2,  3,  4,  6,  7,  8,  12, 
13,  16,  17  18,  33,  44. 

New  York  Harbor  30,  60. 

New  York  in  1839,  1847,  1849, 
8,  12,  13. 

New  York  Panorama,  how  Scandi- 
navians are  employed,  265. 

Nelson,  H.  P.,  170. 

Nielsen,  Captain  A.  Th.,  importer, 

Nielsen,  Birgitte,  Sister,  102. 
Nielsen,  Emil  Bernhard,  editor,  125, 

134,  135,  144,  147. 
Nielsen,  Fritz,  Salvation  Army,  274. 
Nielsen,  Gotfred,  conductor,  96,  98, 


Nielsen,  John  A.,  Corporal,  186. 
Nielsen,  Martin,  editor,  133,  134. 
Nielsen,  Niels  E.,  Captain,  1 16. 
Nilsen,  Albert,  sailors'  boarding 

house,  23. 
Nilsen,  Nick,  master-at-arms,  131. 
Nilsen,  John,  Fort  Lee,  N.  J.,  253. 
Nilsen,  Jonas  Rein,  Dr.,  63. 
Noorman,  Hans  Hansen,  69. 
Norbeck,  Charles,  wrestler,  125. 
Nordbo,  Johannes,  early  immigrant, 


Norden,  emigrant  ship,  4. 

Nordiske  Blade,  newspaper,  133. 

Nordisk  Tidende,  134,  147,  204, 
210,  224,  225,  232,  264,  266, 
267,  272,  278. 

Nordisk  Tidende,  survey  of  popu- 
lation, 264. 

Nordlyset,  (1847)  9,  10;  (1891) 

Nordmanns-Forbundet,  3,  87,  231, 

Nordstjernan,  Swedish  newspaper, 

Norena,  Kaia  Eide,  soprano,  198. 
Norge,  Ladies'  Society,  80,  82. 
Norge,  Sick  Benefit  Society,  251. 
"Norge",  Virginia,  260. 
Norges  Klippe,  emigrant  ship,  4. 

Norges-Posten,  newspaper,  135. 
Norges  Sjefartstidende,  137. 
Norlie,  Prof.  O.  M.,  2. 
Norman  Avenue,  64. 
Normann,  Captain  Henry,  32,  230. 
Norman,  Johan  G.,  33,  204. 
Normann,  Max,  32,  33,  180,  230. 
Norman's  Kill,  near  Albany,  65. 
Norse  or  Norwegian?  259. 
Norsemen  Assembly,  Inc.,  84. 
Norsemen  Glee  Club,  Staten  Island, 

155,  217. 
Norsemen  Lodge,  F.  &  A.  M.,  84. 
Norsk- Amerikanernes  Festskrift,  16. 
Norske  Amerikaner,  134. 
Norsemen  Ski  Club,  165,  210,  211. 
Norske  Kvinder  i  New  York,  50. 
Norske  Settlementers  Historie,  3. 
Northcliffe,  Lord,  178. 
Nortraship,  276. 

Norway  and  Sweden,  relations  be- 
tween, 79,  144,  145. 

Norway  House,  immigrant  home, 

Norway  House,  office  building  con- 
templated, 217. 

Norway  in  War,  276. 

Norway  Mexico  Gulf  Line,  172. 

Norway  Ski  Club,  211. 

Norway's  Export  Trade,  25. 

Norwegian  America  Line,  32,  109, 
170,  172,  217,  222,  225,  226, 
241,  246,  274. 

Norwegian-American  Historical  As- 
sociation, 87,  161. 

Norwegian-American  Olympic 
Committee,  273,  274. 

Norwegian- American  Seamen's  As- 
sociation, 26,  76,  78,  80,  82,  115, 
127,  138,  144,  163. 

Norwegian- American  Securities 
Corporation,  182. 

Norwegian- American  Steamship 
Company,  5,  67,  169,  170. 

Norwegian  and  Norwegian-Danish 
Grammar,  82. 

Norwegian  applied  art,  195. 

Norwegian  books  printed  in  New 
York,  35,  36. 

Norwegian  Children's  Home,  67, 



84,  94,  148,  225,  267. 
Norwegian  Central  Committee, 
81,  82. 

Norwegian  Christian  Old  People's 
Home,  67,  93. 

Norwegian  Club,  82,  83,  237. 

Norwegian  Colony  in  New  York, 
28,  141,  174,  183. 

Norwegian  Consulate  General,  61, 
93,  183,  217. 

Norwegian  Dramatic  Society,  125. 

Norwegian  Emergency  Relief  Com- 
mittee, 274. 

Norwegian  Engineers'  Society,  165, 

Norwegian  Ev.  Free  Church,  100. 
Norwegian  Ev.  Luth.  Free  Church, 

Norwegian  flag  over  City  Hall,  76. 
Norwegian  Film,  202. 
Norwegian  Free  Church,  Hoboken, 

Norwegian  Glee  Club,  Hoboken, 

Norwegian  Government,  179,  180, 
217,  276. 

Norwegian  Hospital,  59,  60,  67, 
88,  91,  98,  102,  163,  172,  221, 
230,  235. 

Norwegian  Immigrant  Contribu- 
tions, 3. 

Norwegian  Immigrant  Mission,  92. 
Norwegian  Ladies'  Club,  84. 
Norwegian  language,  future  of, 
95,  264. 

Norwegian  Lutheran  Church  of 
America,  17,  100,  236,  238,  254, 

Norwegian  Lutheran  Deaconesses' 

Home  and  Hospital,  60. 
Norwegian   Lutheran  Welfare 

Association,  91,  274. 
Norwegian  Marine  Insurance 

Associations,  111. 
Norwegian  Merchant  Marine,  23- 

24,  221,  276. 
Norwegian  Methuselah,  18. 
Norwegian  Migration  to  America, 

Blegen,  2,  87. 

Norwegian  music  in  New  York, 

Norwegian  Pavilion  at  World's 
Fair,  275. 

Norwegian  National  League,  78, 
82,  93,  94,  171,  221. 

Norwegian  Plants,  166. 

Norwegian  Relief  Committee,  277. 

Norwegian  Relief,  Inc.,  277. 

Norwegian  Relief  Society,  89. 

Norwegian  Sailors'  Home,  26,  31, 
60,  78,  105-106,  107,  137,  235. 

"Norwegian  Sailors  in  American 
Waters,"  77,  206,  241,  265. 

Norwegian  sailors  on  the  Great 
Lakes,  2. 

Norwegian  Sea  Captains'  Associa- 
tion, 77. 

Norwegian  Seamen's  Church,  31, 
76,  89,  95,  96,  103-105,  122, 

Norwegian  Settlers  in  Schenectady, 

Norwegian  Shipowners,  241. 
Norwegian   Shipping,  its  growth, 

24;  golden  age,  239. 
Norwegian    Shipping    and  Trade 

Mission,  276. 
Norwegian    Shipowners'  Associa- 
tion, 179. 
Norwegian  Shipping  Interests,  241. 
Norwegian  ships  in  American 

harbors,  239. 
Norwegian  ships  sunk  outside  New 

York,  189. 
Norwegian  Singing  Society  of 

Brooklyn,  78,  82,  92,  94,  117- 

120,  148,  217,  272. 
Norwegian   Singing  Society  of 

New  York,  67,  117. 
Norwegian  Society  of  New  York, 

9,  10,  37,  75. 
Norwegian  societies  in   1905,  82. 
Norwegians  in  Buffalo,  256. 
Norwegians  in  Cohoes,  253. 
Norwegians  in  Corning,  255. 
Norwegians  in  New  York  in  1871, 


Norwegians  in  Norfolk,  262. 
Norwegians  in  Norge,  Va.,  261. 



Norwegians  in  Politics,  268-269. 
Norwegians  in  Schenectady,  255. 
Norwegian  Student  Chorus,  14?, 

237,  27?. 
Norwegian-Swedish  Consulate,  17. 
Norwegian  thoroughfare,  31. 
Norwegian  Travel  Bureau,  222. 
Norwegian  Turn  Society,  81,  82, 


Norwegian  Veritas,  111. 
Norwegians   in   war   with  Spain, 

Norwegians  on  warships,  130. 
Norwegian  workers  preferred,  250. 
Nye  Norge,  newspaper,  135,  205. 
Ny  Tid,  radical  newspaper,  136. 
Observations,  general,  264. 
Occupation  of  Norwegians,  264. 
Ocean,  sailboat,  139. 
Odegaard,  O.  O.,  builder,  Staten 

Island,  155. 
Odin    Lodge,    Sons    of  Norway, 

Buffalo,  256. 
Odland,  Martin,  W.,  16. 
Olafsen,   Anton,   paper,  230-231. 
Olafsen,  Olaf,  116. 
Olausen,  Helene,  82,  84,  213,  237. 
Olav,  Hans,  editor,  135,  232. 
Oleana,  Ole  Bull's  colony,  55-56. 
Olsen,  corporal,  187. 
Olsen,  A.,  ship  repairs,  185. 
Olsen,  Arnold,  radiographer,  217. 
Olsen,  Carl  F.  A.,  rescue,  234. 
Olsen,  Even,  boat  builder,  98,  246. 
Olsen,  Hans,  musician,  117. 
Olsen,  Prof.  John  C,  166. 
Olsen,  John  G.,  tugboats,  243. 
Olsen,  John  H.,  90,  155. 
Olsen,  Knut,  travel  bureau,  222. 
Olsen,  Margaret,  soprano,  198. 
Olsen,  capt.  Niels,  26,  79,  106,  248. 
Olsen,  Nils  A.,  167. 
Olsen,  Ole,  bos  un's  mate,  131. 
Olsen,  Ole  G.,  captain,  243. 
Olsen,  Oliver  Christian,  policeman, 


Olsen,  captain  T.,  27. 
Olsen,  Thorsten  Y.,  manufacturer, 

Olsen,  Tinius,  engineer,  163. 

Olsen,  William,  116. 
Olstrum,  Thomas,  Orange,   N.  J., 

Olympic  games,  273. 
Opsahl,  T.,  Rev.,  Orange,  N.  J., 

Orange,  New  Jersey,  250. 
Ore,  Oystein,  mathematician,  167. 
Oscar  Tofte  Lodge,  Troy,  N.  Y., 

Osland,  Birger,  banker,  87,  170, 

Oslofjord,  171,  275. 
Osmundsen,  captain  Hans,  38,  106. 
Ostenso,  Martha,  author,  205-206. 
Ottesen,  Jakob  Aall,  Rev.,  39,  55. 
Ottesen,  John  O.,  captain,  245. 
Our    Savior's    Church,  Brooklyn, 

39-42,  49,  92,  96. 
Our  Savior's  Church,  Harlem,  157. 
Owre,  Dr.  Alfred,  167. 
Oxholm,  Axel  H.,  forestry,  260. 
Paintings  by  Balling,  48. 
Panama  Canal,  paintings,  192. 
Parade  to  Leiv  Eiriksson  Square, 


Parkhurst,  C.  F.,  Rev.,  107. 
Paulsen,  Peter,  rope,  245. 
Paulsen,  Ornulf,  ski  expert,  210- 

Pedersen,  Axel  E.,  85,  174,  214. 
Pedersen,  Rev.  C.  O.,  29,  90,  91, 

93,  96,  184,  213,  214,  221,  238, 

274,  275,  277. 
Pedersen,   J.   O.,   builder,  Bronx, 


Pedersen,  Godfred,  148. 
Peerson,  Cleng,  2,  35. 
Petersen,  Axel,  B.,  Richmond,  Va., 

Peterson,  Carl  O.,  lieutenant,  273. 
Petersen,  Clemens,  critic,  58,  136. 
Petersen,     Emil,    Rev.,  emigrant 

mission,  92. 
Petersen,  Franklin,  journalist  and 

poet,  108,  135,  205,  238. 
Petersen,  captain  John,  30. 
Petersen,  Rev.  O.  P.,  pioneer 

clergyman,  37. 
Petersen,  Peter  O.,  98. 



Petersen,  Robert  W.,  captain,  20. 
Peterson,  Anton,  captain,  243. 
Pettersen,   Anton   L.,  member  of 

legislature  in  New  Jersey,  252. 
Pettersen,  E.  A.,  lumber,  Passaic, 


Philadelphia,  World's  Fair,  272. 
Pilots  at  Sandy  Hook,  31. 
Pioneer,  a  famous,  9. 
Platou,  Carl  N.,  captain,  112,  186. 
Platou,  Pedro,  Dr.,  113. 
Population  statistics,  13,  140,  226, 

Portland,  Me.,  41. 
Preus,  A.  C,  Rev.,  103. 
Preus,  J.  H.,  Rev.,  251. 
Prizes  in  boat  races,  246. 
Prohibition,  175. 
Prosperous  years,  141. 
Protection  for  the  seafaring  man, 

Providence,  R.  I.,  257. 

Pusey  6?  Jones  Company,  178-179. 

Qualben,  L.  P.,  Dr.,  154,  206. 

Quam,  Hans,  75. 

Quamme,  Arnold,  117. 

Quebec,  16,  105. 

Queens,  13. 

Race  consciousness,  271. 
Radich,  Christian,  training  ship, 

Raffenborg,  Johannes  J.,  53. 
Ramberg,  Haakon  W.,  ship  repairs, 

Randall,  Harry,  125-126. 

Ravn,  Christopher,  consul  general, 

61,  63,  106,  180,  230. 
Reese,  Hans,  40,  41. 
Refsland,  Carl  W.,  Sons  of  Norway, 


Refsum,  Joseph,  Dr.,  150. 
Reiersen,  Mathias  and  Julie, 

Hoboken,  251. 
Reindeer,  import  of,  223. 
Rieber,  Torkild,  captain,  232. 
Religion  as  motivating  force,  271. 
Religious  trends,  95. 
Religious  work  begins,  35. 
Repp,  Ellen,  soprano,  198. 
Reque,  Peter  A.,  Dr.,  83,  187,  237. 

Rescue  at  sea,  a  famous,  28. 
Restaurationen,  1,  2,  13,  28,  236. 
Restaurationens  mindevaerdige 
Faerd,  5. 

Reymert,  August,  9,  62-63.,  75,  79, 

106,  138. 
Reymert,  James  Denoon,  9,  49,  56, 

62,  75,  133. 
Reymert,  Dr.  M.  L.,  9,  63. 
Richmond,  Staten  Island,  13. 
Road,  the  Open,  magazine,  207. 
Rochester,  N.  Y.,  2. 
Rockne,  Knut,  football,  212. 
Roedder,    Karsten,   journalist  and 

author,  136,  207. 
Rolseth,  Bjarne,  organist,  200. 
Ronning,  Rev.  Harold,  20. 
Roosevelt,  Theodore,  29,  107,  110, 


Rowdy  tone  and  brawls  at  festivals, 

Rosecrans,  General  William  Stark, 

Rosenkrans  family,  53. 
Rosen  void,  A.,  corporal,  188. 
Rossum,  Haakon,  corporal,  187. 
Rove,  Olaf,  consul,  234-235. 
Rowland,  Pa.,  143. 
Roxana,  fishing  sloop,  tragedy,  143. 
Run-away  from  Norway,  12. 
Ruud,  Edwin,  hot  water  heaters, 

Rygg,  Dr.  A.  N„  32,  50,  90,  91, 
93,  94,  107,  120  135,  171,  180, 
184,  186,  190,  202,  213,  214, 
220,  221,  237,  274,  275,  277. 

Rygg,  N.,  Bank  of  Norway,  259. 

Rsder,  Ole  Munch,  11,  12. 

Roberg,  G.  A.,  85. 

Rolvaag,  O.  E.,  on  immigration, 

Sailing  vessels  disappear,  33. 
Sailors,  foreign-born,  being  crowded 

out,  132. 
Sailors'  Snug  Harbor,  15  5. 
St.  Andrew,  the  sailor,  113. 
St.  Olaf  Choir,  219. 
St.  Olaf  Club,  219. 
St.  Olaf  College,  219. 
Saloon  keeper,  an  early,  6. 



Saloons  with  Norwegian  names,  32. 
Salthe,  Ole,  food  expert,  149. 
Samuelsen,  Frank  G.,  139. 
Sand,  Olaf,  sailmaker,  34. 
Sande,  Earl,  jockey,  209. 
Sartz,  R.  S.  N.,  editor,  133-134, 

Saved  life  of  "Fighting  Bob"  Evans, 

Savings  Accounts,  265. 
Saxe,  Ludvig,  editor,  87. 
Scandinavian  -  American  Technical 

School,  218-219. 
Scandinavian  books,  list  of  500,  86. 
Scandinavian  Company,  the,  Civil 

War,  43-49. 
Scandinavian  Ev.  Luth.  Church  in 

Jersey  City,  251. 
Scandinavian  House,  12. 
Scandinavian  Immigrants  in  New 

York,  Evjen,  54. 
Scandinavian  Sailors'  Temperance 

Home,  78-79. 
Scandinavian  Society  of  1844,  9, 

10,  36,  75-76. 
Scandinavian  Society  of  Long 

Island  City,  66. 
Scandinavian  Trust  Company,  181- 


Schaefer,  Frederic,  railway  equip- 
ment, 163,  221. 

Schenectady,  N.  Y.,  255. 

Schi0tt,  Christian,  artist,  199. 

Schreiber,  James  and  Martin,  65. 

Scientists,  167. 

Seamen's  Act,  113. 

Seamen's  Church  Institute,  241. 

Seamen's  Mission  started,  103. 

Selliken,  Julius  M.,  174. 

Served  with  Grant  at  Fort 
Donelson,  52. 

Sevareid,  Eric,  journalist,  208. 

Seventeenth  of  May  festivals,  78, 

Shanghai,  the  trip  of  the,  242. 

Shanghaiing,  107. 

Ship  brokers,  241-242. 

Shipping  Board,  U.  S.,  178. 

Ship  chandlers,  242. 

Shipping  Office,  Scandinavian,  106. 

Shipstead,  Henrik,  senator,  275. 

Shulsen,  Andrew,  252. 

Sick  benefits  established,  76. 

Sigmond,  Anna,  148. 

Sigmond,  R.  O.,  Rev.,  154,  155. 

Sigmond,  S.  O.,  Rev.,  93,  94,  96, 

102,  213. 
Siljan,  Elise  Hansen,  masseuse,  149. 
Simonsen,  M.  B.,  captain,  235. 
Simonstad,  Olaf  T.,  police 

lieutenant,  236. 
Sinding,  Christian,  composer,  199. 
Sinding,  Rev.  Paul  G.,  39. 
Singing  societies,  118. 
Singstad,  Ole,  32,  163. 
Sinkings  on  the  Atlantic  Coast,  189. 
Siqueland,  Sverre,  221. 
Siqueland,  Theodore,  Dr.,  151. 
Siste  folkevandring,  9. 
Sivertsen,  Peter  M.,  slicing 

machines,  233. 
Sjovik,  Amund,  bass-baritone,  198. 
Skaal  to  the  Vikings,  verse,  113. 
Skald,  mixed  chorus,  120. 
Skandinaven,  New  York,  10,  11, 

16,  37. 
Skandinavia,  5,  10,  17. 
Skandinavisk  Post,  newspaper,  133. 
Skibladner,  a  rescue,  and  a  ballad, 


Ski  experts,  211. 
Skiing,  210. 

Skiing  in  New  York  State,  253. 
Skou,  Sigurd,  painter,  194. 
Skougaard,  Jens,  60,  90. 
Skougaard,   Lorentz  Severing  59- 
60,  63. 

Skougaard-Severini,  L.,  59-60. 
Smith,  Alfred  E.,  Governor,  236. 
Smith,  captain  Herman  Roosen,  27. 
Smith,    Nicolai,    boarding  master, 

Snyder,  Ole,  attorney,  256. 
Social  obligations,  89-90. 
Social  Service,  88-94. 
Societies,  81-86. 

Solberg,  Carl  Fredrik,  44,  55-56. 
Solberg,  Thor,  flyer,  85,  273. 
Solberg,  Thorvald,  Copyright 
bureau,  204. 



Soldiers  in  World  War,  184-188. 
Sommers,  Charles  George,  8. 
Sons  of  Norway,  order,  85,  269. 
Sons  of  Norway  lodges  in  New 

Jersey,  251. 
Sons  of   Norway,   Staten  Island, 

155,  235. 
Sontum,  Inga,  193. 
South   Brooklyn   Sick  Benefit 

Society,  82. 
South  Street,  7. 
Spain,  the  war  with,  127. 
Sports,  209. 
Square  Head,  108. 
Square  Head  Town,  Roselle,  N.  J., 


Stalberg,  Herman,  librarian,  125, 

Staten  Island,  67. 
Staten  Island,  population,  153. 
Staten  Island  Ski  Club,  211. 
Statsraad  Vogt,  brig,  17. 
Stavanger,  1,  2,  4,  18,  19,  34,  52. 
Stavanger  Cathedral,  gift  to,  221. 
Stavangerfjord,  171,  274. 
Stavanger-Larsen,  23. 
Stavnheim,  Laurits,  85. 
Steendal,  Chr.  186. 
Steenstrup,  Peter  Sevenn,  1 50. 
Stein  Song,  121-122. 
Stejneger,   Leonard,   Dr.,  curator, 

258,  259. 
Stephenson,  George  M.,  266. 
Stevenson,   Georgia,  Olava,  Mrs., 


Stolan,  John,  captain,  244. 
Stolt,  Andreas,  177,  186,  237. 
Stousland,  John,  captain,  252. 
Strandenaes,  Brynjulf,  painter,  194. 
Strandvold,  Olaf,  student  of 

runology,  216. 
Stray  Group,  179. 
Stub,  Rev.,  H.  A.,  17. 
Stub,  Rev.  H.  G.,  17. 
Suckow,  Bertol  W.,  56. 
Sundby-Hansen,  H.,  journalist,  3, 


Sundgaard,  Arnold,  author,  208. 
Supplying  the  New  York  housewife 
with  fish,  247. 

Svendsen,  Otto,  captain,  244. 
Svendsen,  Sivert,  234. 
Sverdrup,  H.  U.,  professor,  260. 
Sverdrup's  explanation, 

commentary  to,  97. 
Swedish  Society,  the,  36. 
Swenson,  Magnus,  170. 
Swindling  of  sailors,  3 1-32. 
Sorensen,  J.,  224. 
Soyland,  Carl,  19,  56,  135,  201, 

205,  262,  278. 
Tales  of  a  Wayside  Inn,  57. 
Taft,  William  Howard,  29. 
Teachers,  234. 
Teater,  Det  norske,  201. 
Telemark  Ski  Club,  211. 
Tengelsen,  J.  T.,  druggist,  93,  150. 
Tharaldsen,  Aagot,  music  school, 


Tharaldsen,  Conrad  Engerud, 

professor,  167. 
Thaulow,  Christian,  violinist,  199. 
Theatrical  performances,  125. 
Theory  of  the  Leisure  Class,  168. 
Thompson,  "Butch",  52-53. 
Thompson,  Charles,  pilot,  31. 
Thompson,  David,  Staten  Island, 


Thompson,  J.  Jorgen,  professor,  87. 
Thompson,  Th.  Langland,  83,  122, 

180,  182,  186,  190. 
Thorbjornsen,  Niels,  216. 
Thoreau,  Henry  David,  153. 
Thorkelsen,  Halsten  Joseph, 

scientist,  167. 
Thrane,  Marcus,  12,  59 
Thrane,  Robert,  cellist,  59. 
Tjomsland,  Anna,  Dr.,  150. 
Til  Saeters,  63,  125. 
Tjosevig,  Christian,  1  50. 
Tobisen,  Peter,  15. 
Tofte,  Oluf  and  Oscar,  253,  254. 
Tollefsen,  Carl  H.,  63,  94,  185, 


Tonnage  statistics,  239. 
Tonning,   Gerard,   musician  and 

composer,  198. 
Tonning,  Ingvald,  186,  219. 
Torgersen,  Hans,  Cranberry  King, 




Torgersen's  Impressions  of 

America,  7. 
Torkildsen,  Sofie,  Sister,  90. 
Tosdal,  Harry  R.,  professor,  167. 
Tovsen,  Antonette,  author,  206. 
Trade   relations  between  Norway 

and  U.  S.,  181. 
Tragedy  by  drowning,  143. 
Trelstad,  Rev.  A.  M.,  38,  94,  175. 
Trinity  Male  Chorus,  119. 
Trinity  Church,  Brooklyn,  95,  175. 
Trinity  Church,  Brooklyn,  old 

members,  99. 
Trinity  Scand.  Luth.  Church, 

Hoboken,  250. 
Tronderen,  society,  83. 
Tug-of-War,  81. 

Turmo,  Rev.  Stener,  41,  90,  184. 
Tybring,  C.  W.,  old  settler,  7,  39. 
Ueland,  G.  T.,  77,  79,  94,  122, 

138,  173,  184. 
Ullenes,  C,  captain,  79,  90. 
Ullitz,  Hugo,  166. 
Ulmer  Park,  the  place  of  many 

celebrations,  78. 
"Union"    cut   out   of  Norwegian 

flag,  79. 

United  New  York   Singers,  118. 
Unneberg,  captain,  249. 
Urd,  Daughters  of  Norway,  86. 
Vaage,  Harald,  journalist,  134,  135. 
Vaksdal,  Alfred,  engineer,  255. 
Valeur,  John,  Williamsburg,  66. 
Vallee,   Rudy,   radio  singer,  121. 
Vanderbilt,  Harold,  yachtsman, 

Van  der  Bilt,  Jacob,  152. 
Van  der  Bilt,  Jan  Arentzen,  70, 

van  Sand,  Albert,  10. 
Vathne,  Johannes,  52. 
Veblen,  Oswald,  mathematician, 

Veblen,  Thorstein,  B.,  168. 
Vetlesen,  Georg  Unger,  168,  248. 
Victory  Loans,  186. 
Viking  ship,  138. 
Villa  Jotunheim,  Boverdalen,  148. 
Visitors  to  New  York,  142,  205, 

Visits  by  Norwegian  warships,  221, 

Volckertsen,  Dirck,  64. 

Volk,  John,   newspaperman,  136. 

Volkmar,  Hans,  Dr.,  76,  77,  125, 

134,  144. 
Waaler,  Reidar,  186. 
Walk,  a  long,  35. 
Wang,  Fredrik,  6,  7. 
War  with  Spain,  127-131. 
Wasmuth,  Johannes  Castberg 

Holmboe,  50-52. 
Waterfront,  along  the,  239. 
Werenskjold,  Arthur,  violinist,  200. 
Werner,  August,  baritone,  198, 


Werner,  Fred,  76,  85,  237. 
Westa,  Karl  M.,  111. 
Westad,  Rolf  G.,  181,  231. 
Westergaard,    B.,    importer,  181, 

221,  233. 
Westergaard,  Johannes,  paper,  181, 


Wetlesen,  Anton,  119,  237. 
White  Cross,  Knights  of  the,  85. 
White  Ribbon,  174. 
White  Sails,  the,  33-34. 
Widness,  Edward,  174-175. 
Widness,  Edward  J.,  46. 
Widness,  John,  46,  49,  66,  174. 
Wild  speculations,  182. 
Wilhelmsen  Steamship  Line,  241. 
Williams,  Anders,  consul,  262. 
Williams,  undertaker,  65. 
Williams,  William,  115. 
Williamson,    William   M.,  editor, 

Williamsen,  7 
Williamsburg,  6. 

Wilson,  James,  alias  Just  Ebbesen, 

Wilson,  President  Woodrow,  113. 
Windingstad,  Ole,  conductor,  118, 

120,  155,  186,  201,  238,  251, 

272,  275. 
Wings  on  my  feet,  Sonja  Henie, 

Wisconsin,  13. 
Wold,  Asta  H.,  94. 
Worm-Muller,  Dr.,  5. 



Woxen,  K.  G.  M.,  consul,  147. 
Yacht  captains,  249. 
Yachting,  33. 
Yarmouth  Stone,  215. 
0bom,  A  nders  Gustaf,  11,  133 
Orkenen  Sur,  274. 
0rner,  Inga,  singer,  119. 
0sterberg,  7. 

Zernikow-Loss,  Henrik  von,  164. 
Zion  Norwegian  Lutheran  Church, 

Brooklyn,  49,  99-100. 
Zion  Norwegian  Lutheran  Church, 

Staten  Island,  154. 
Zorina,  Vera,  dancer, 
JEgir,  4,  5.